"Zoomed long it's a different story."
I admit that lately I have been noticing the Canon S95 and Canon SX30IS cameras, but so much of what I do, I do with a long lens at wildlife. As you point out, that sets up a completely different set of challenges with image stabilization. But that leaves me far enough away from the wildlife that it does not feel so threatened by the human, and that tends to get me more natural poses.
It is interesting to see how slow a person can shoot and still avoid jiggle. Holding your breath, leaning up against a tree, etc., can work, but they are not quite as reliable as getting the camera features to do most of the work for you.
In June in Yellowstone, I shot one image of a sow grizzly with two yearling cubs, and you could see that she was teaching them how to dig up ground squirrels. The range to subject was 1000 yards! That's staying out of threat range.
I shoot super-wide scenery once in a while, but it gets too hard to get anything realistic going with a polarizer for the sky when that much angle is in view.