Here we'll share with you our work with wildlife and their habitat. Some of these articles are wildlife rescues; others are about research, protection, and preservation of endangered species and their habitat. For some we have not yet written their stories; until we do, we'll include their photos for your enjoyment now. Our work has included hands-on rescues, raising, rehab, and release of wildlife; aerial tracking and surveying of eagles, falcons, foxes, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, black bear, and many more. We also help with transports of large shipments of veterinary supplies and equipment and personnel all over the world to help save wildlife and protect ecosystems such as the Galapagos. We have supported the restoration of ecosystems after large fires, and the evacuation of wildlife from disasters such as fire and flood where possible. To see our work with marine life and ecosystems, please visit our pages under Ocean Conservation and Gulf of Mexico.
Sabine, Pearl, and Pascagoula Rivers
One of the most graceful of the world’s soaring raptors and the largest of the kite family, the swallow-tailed kite looks like a star as it flies, with a deeply-forked tail spread out behind its long, narrow, angular wings in almost a 2-to-1 ratio (wingspan about 4 ft to body length about 2 ft). Black tips and trailing edges on their wings and their black tail contrast sharply with their white heads and underbodies, giving them a striking and distinctive appearance.
Or so the books said. It’s a different story flying 400 feet above the treetops in fog and mist looking for these elusive angels! Even with powerful zoom lenses and fast shutter speeds, it was a challenge to see and count them while maintaining enough altitude and flying quietly enough to ensure that we did not disturb them. Until we actually saw some swallow-tailed kites from the air, and our eyes and brains adapted to the small features we sought among the canopy of trees, it was pretty discouraging. The less experienced among us (myself included) began by eagerly calling out lichen, or egrets, once even a field of watermelon. But that just added to the thrill when we finally started finding the real thing. Check out the following pairs of photos: The photos on the left are what we saw with our eyes, those on the right are what the camera zoom lens showed us later. (The first two pairs of photos are swallow-tailed kites on the Pascagoula and Pearl Rivers, the third pair is a colony of egrets along the Pearl River.)
2012 December 14, Friday
Angeles National Forest, California
Rescuing, repairing, and raising orphaned wildlife is a very great privilege, undertaken by a rare breed of humans. We've joked before with our fellow dog- and cat-rescuers and admitted that dog rescuers are "wimps" compared to cat rescuers, because cat rescuers tolerate delayed gratification and unrequited love, whereas dog rescuers get immediate thanks and a fan club. (:--)) But wildlife rehabbers -- now these humans are the deepest and most selfless of all. Why? Well, take for example someone who rescues and raises orphan raccoons.
Another crop of hand-raised raccoons have arrived in the forest! These young spirits were hand-raised by DFG-sponsored volunteers from Huntington Beach, CA, and when it came time to find a home for them, On Wings Of Care was there to help with this joyous event!
Here is a collection of photos and videos from our work for wildlife and their habitat, for which we have not yet written individual stories. Enjoy! We'll upload more and add stories soon. All photos and videos are from within the last 12 years, with the exception of a very special cougar named "Topaz" who endeared himself to us in the early 1990s.
Among the wildlife on land and sea who have figured large in the daily lives and work of On Wings Of Care volunteers, those who have loomed largest by number since 2003 have been raccoons. While our refrigerators and freezers remain stocked with the ingredients to simulate mother's milk for most mammals ranging from mice to black bear, the volume of our regular orders for raccoon formula rivaled those for most other animals combined. It all started by accident when a pair of week-old raccoon babies were handed to us in a parking lot high up in the San Gabriel Mountains, where they had been found cold and nearly dead.
2010 Apr 29
Late Thursday night, we received a phone call from a man who lives on some acreage in the foothills above Pasadena, saying that he had just found what he said looked like a small desert tortoise, crossing the street! He said it was unlike tortoises he had seen before -- the octagons on the shell were smooth, not raised, and there was no 'horn' under the chin area. We went to have a look.
2009 May 6 - Santa Barbara, CA
The fire came to be called the "Jesusita Fire" and eventually burned over 8,700 acres in Santa Barbara county. Among the last to receive priority were the helpless wildlife at the local Wildlife Rescue Center, including hundreds of pelicans, egrets, and other seabirds as well as other smaller wild birds who were there recovering from injuries (such as that ubiquitous 'natural' hazard known as fishhooks). We got the first frantic call in the evening and there was no time to spare.
2009 Aug 3
This 27-pound young male African tortoise found by hikers in the Angeles National Forest was a lucky boy! We were worried when we saw him, as he was bleeding badly. At first sight, we thought it was a bullet hole...