Growing up in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley in the 1940s, David Siddon had easy access to the wilderness before the region’s housing sprawl began. He enjoyed his career as a writer, photographer, and filmmaker, traveling the world filming wild and domestic animals for TV productions.
He left Southern California in the early 1970s and moved onto 17 acres of wilderness property near Merlin, Ore., on the Rogue River. There, he could do more than just raise baby owls in the laundry room as he had done in California. Soon public and law enforcement officials were delivering injured animals to his river refuge. The animals ranged from baby squirrels, raccoons, and bear cubs to songbirds, bald eagles, and owls. An accomplished public speaker, Siddon told his story to raise the necessary funds. His animals also appeared in commercials and films, including the Buick automobile series that featured a red-tailed hawk named Happy soaring over the cars. When Siddon died in 1996, his son, Dave, took over. Today, with a small staff and 85 dedicated volunteers and donated veterinary services, Wild Life Images cares for more than 2,000 animals a year.