Did you hear about the two tiny, downy hawklings that on Mother’s Day flew in a private airplane from Sonoma County to San Luis Obispo County for adoption by a surrogate mother named Fiona?

The things that happen around here, I swear, you could not make up.

Sunday, a small flock of local animal lovers bundled up a pair of red-shouldered hawk nestlings and flew them down the coast to a lifelong captive hawk that for more than a decade has shone as a stand-in mom.


TREE TRIMMERS were working in Sebastopol not even two weeks ago and came upon a nest. Inside were three eggs just starting to hatch.

The tree removers took the nest to the Bird Rescue Center in Santa Rosa. Volunteers incubated the eggs. Three teeny, adorably homely red-shouldered hawk chicks appeared.

One didn’t make it. Bird Rescue Center volunteers fed the others drops of slurried quail.

Rescuers then took the hatchlings back to where the tree had been and placed them and the nest in a nearby tree. But the parents, having not been present for the hatchings, would not engage with them.

About that time, the bird center’s Jaime Davis-Meyer found online the story of Fiona, a red-shouldered hawk born with a deformity that lives at Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay.

Again and again, Fiona has accepted baby hawks, cared for them and taught them the basics of hunting so they can be released to the wild.

A call to the Morro Bay center revealed that though Fiona already had one orphan the volunteers would be agreeable to presenting her the pair from Sebastopol.


A CALL-OUT to volunteers of the Santa Rosa center asked if anyone might be driving soon to San Luis Obispo County. Volunteer Karrabella Soldis, who’s 13, asked her dad, Steve, if he’d please fly the baby hawks down in his airplane.

On Sunday, Santa Rosa rescuers fed the chicks one last time and nestled them in a travel carrier warmed by a bottle of heated water.

Volunteers on the other end started for the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport about the same time the hawklings and Steve lifted off from Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in his Cirrus SR22.

The handoff was made on the tarmac in San Luis Obispo. Pacific Wildlife Care volunteers promptly fed the chicks, which must eat every two hours, then headed for Morro Bay and for 11-year-old Fiona, who’ll have her hands full.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.