You don’t often see the words “raptor” and “revelry” in the same sentence, and certainly not at a winery. Yet we celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary this past weekend at a fundraising event that incorporated all three.
When you’re an animal lover, you get excited when an event lands on your anniversary for the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. Wingin’ it at the Winery is held annually to raise funds for this vital, local non-profit.
Count us in!
The center (WCSV) processes over 5,000 wild animals a year. Animals come to them injured or orphaned, and sometimes both. Staff and volunteers at the center make every effort to return the young to their family. Barring that, they rehab the animal or bird in a way that keeps them wild, and therefore self-sufficient. Once ready, they reintroduce the animals back into the wild, usually within ten miles of their original home.
Wingin’ it at the Winery included a live and silent auction, wine tasting, appetizers and a fully vegetarian meal. It’s not often I can attend an event and eat everything on offer. What a treat.
Auction items included art and wine, travel and experiences and a number of animal-centric gift baskets. Seeker Winery in San Martin generously donated the venue, along with wine from their private reserve.
One of the biggest draws though, was the potential release of an owl. There were no promises. The animals well-being comes first, but if all went well, we would get to witness an owl released back to the wild.
Like many non-profits, WCSV has a small staff. They rely on many volunteers to help care for and rehab the animals. I first learned about WCSV from one of my Pilates classmates. Ellen volunteers at the center, and used to share intriguing stories about her work with the animals
A couple of years ago we rescued this orphaned hummingbird
and I turned to Ellen for guidance. She confirmed that taking the small and needy bird to the center was the right thing to do. That little hummingbird had a happily ever after story, when she was re-released back into the wild.
While we’re on the subject of re-releasing birds into the wild, you’ll never guess the extraordinary highlight of the evening?
Agency staff and volunteers released three raptors (in this case owls). They had been in the shelter since May.
As we stood together along the length of the vineyard at dusk, the owls flew into the trees, one by one. Though the owl in the center box was initially reluctant to venture out, she too eventually flew into the trees she would now call home.
What a spectacular night!