In Memory of Fiona

Fiona, the Red-shouldered Hawk who has been with Pacific Wildlife Care for more than 12 years died earlier this month. Fiona has lived with PWC volunteer  Kelly Vandenheuvel since she was a baby.  Fiona laid her first eggs in the spring of 2008.  She sat on her infertile eggs diligently for almost two months.  Kelly decided to try an experiment and placed baby chicks (chickens) under her. Fiona raised the babies as if they were her own. After the first year, Fiona continued to lay her infertile eggs each spring. Every year when orphaned baby hawks came into the center that could not be re-nested they were given to Fiona to raise. Ojai raptor center also sent to many orphaned babies over the years. Kelly would remove the eggs from beneath Fiona early in the morning while it was still dark, place the babies along with baked egg shells underneath Fiona. When morning came Fiona was always as pleased as could be.  She raised dozens of orphaned babies during the 12 years she resided in Cayucos. 

Fiona who was a gentle soul Was also a very protective mother. She cared for her babies like any good mother would. Often times she would not have any food for herself until all the babies had full crops.  Many of Fiona’s babies fly free on Kelly’s Cayuco’s ranch. One of her youngsters from two years ago has a nest just above Fiona’s enclosure. She will be missed by many.

Thank you Kelly for writing this loving memoir.

The three youngsters that are being raised by Fiona, our non-releasable Red-shouldered Hawk, are doing great! They are growing up fast and are being cared for by Fiona as if they were her own. #fostermom #wildlife #redshoulderedhawk #raptor #wildliferehab #babybird

Posted by Pacific Wildlife Care on Wednesday, June 6, 2018


  1. thom danfield on March 6, 2019 at 8:08 am

    It is through the efforts of dedicated volunteers such as Kelly that my wife and I always find such caring and warmth at PWC whenever we find ourselves in the role of rescuers. It is always a pure pleasure to visit and stroll the grounds; there is a profound vibe that lives there thanks to all the staff and volunteers. You are a treasure for the Central Coast.

    Fiona’s strong heart and spirit will forever stay with PWC.

    Thank you.

    Most sincerely,
    Thom and Diane Danfield

  2. Cyndy Later on March 16, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Fiona will be missed!

    • Ian on June 7, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Thank you, Kelly, for your commitment to and love for Fiona. What a wonderful story. And thank you to everyone at PWC for your tireless dedication to helping injured and helpless animals. As someone else said, you’re a true treasure of the central coast. We’re extremely fortunate that such caring people like you exist in our midst. Thank you!

  3. Marty Brown on May 13, 2019 at 3:15 am

    What a wonderful statement, Thom Danfield. I agree wholeheartedly. PWC is a treasure.

    Thank you,
    Marty Brown

  4. Kimberly on June 17, 2019 at 1:38 am

    Thank you for this sweet story! I never met Fiona but am feeling grateful she had a safe and happy life!

  5. Diane on August 27, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    How did Fiona pass?

    • Jeanette Stone on August 28, 2019 at 1:45 am

      Hard to tell but she developed a neurological disorder, everything was done to correct this ailment and she lived an additional 6 months with treatment.

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