Wings and Wine event helps rescued wildlife

By: Leah Rosasco, Loomis News Correspondent
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What: Meet rescued wild birds, includes glass of wine, appetizers
Benefits: Gold Country Wildlife Rescue
When: 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday, March 2                             
Where: High Hand Nursery, 3750 Taylor Road          
Cost: $25 presale only, no tickets at door
Tickets: Available at High Hand, or
Information: 652-2065.

Some unique feathered friends will get up close and personal at an upcoming benefit for wildlife rescue.
High Hand will host Wings and Wine, a fundraiser that features wine and food and showcases some of the wild birds rescued by Loomis-based Gold Country Wildlife Rescue.  
Guests will get to see and learn about a red tailed hawk, bald eagle, a peregrine falcon, five species of owls, a crow and ravens.
Lucinda Chipponeri, Gold Country Wildlife Rescue president, said the purpose of the event is to give the community an opportunity to learn about these wild birds and see them up close, while raising funds.
“The presentation will include information on each species with additional information on the history of the specific bird,” Chipponeri said.
Although the birds will remain on the arm of their handler, Chipponeri said some of the calmer birds will be brought out into the crowd for a close-up look, and in one case, even a touch.
“We have a very nice rooster that has been domesticated and most people don’t realize just how soft their feathers are so they can touch him if they like,” Chipponeri said.
Guests will receive a complimentary glass of wine and appetizers. There will also be a raffle with a wide variety of prizes.
This year’s event marks the fourth time High Hand has sponsored the fundraiser for the wildlife rescue organization. High Hand owner Scott Paris said it is important to help local organizations and he has been especially impressed by Gold Country Wildlife Rescue.
“This is a group of committed, non-paid volunteers who spend time quietly nursing birds and animals back to health,” Paris said.
The event has been so popular in the past that Paris had to reduce the number of tickets that would be sold this year. Although up to 600 people have attended in years past, this year’s event will be limited to 350 people.
“People love it, but it got to the point where it was so crowded it was difficult to really enjoy the birds,” Paris said. “Limiting the tickets will make it an even more enjoyable night.”
Paris attributes the events success to the birds themselves, and the fact that most people do not get the chance to see them, let alone at such close range.
“When they bring out the bald eagle it is a truly humbling experience,” Paris said. “It is always so exciting.”
Among the birds that will be introduced at the event will be Nissa, a peregrine falcon who was trained as an “ambassador” for the organization after it became apparent that she would not be able to survive on her own in the wild. Kari Freidig, who sits on the Gold Country Wildlife Rescue’s Wildlife Intake Center Committee and runs the organizations Wildlife Education program, said Nissa sustained a head injury that makes it difficult for her to swallow, which would put her at a disadvantage in the wild.
“She can feed herself, but she is pretty slow at it,” said Freidig.
The animal ambassadors help the organization spread the word about how humans can limit the negative impacts on animals, Freidig said.
“A lot of animals come in as a result of interactions with humans,” Freidig said.
Freidig said the key components to living peacefully with the wildlife are respect, reverence and appreciation.
“We want to build a feeling of stewardship among the community. With knowledge and education we can live with the wildlife in harmony,” Freidig said.