Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Staff Spotlight

November 5, 2018

Inside View: From Volunteer to Staff Member

I have always been interested in science, health, animals, wildlife, and conservation, but a trip to a wildlife reserve in South Africa last year left me with a desire to do more to help wildlife. At the time, I was also in the middle of changing career paths, pursuing a new career in animal health as a veterinary technician.

I learned about International Bird Rescue about 10 years ago and knew I supported the work Bird Rescue did to help injured, orphaned, and oiled birds, so earlier this year I decided to become a volunteer. I knew that volunteering would give me the opportunity to help wild birds and help me gain skills that could only help me grow as a vet tech student. Now, I have been given the opportunity to become part of the team as a rehabilitation technician.

I am looking forward to giving the birds the care they need to heal and return them to their natural homes. My favorite part of being at Bird Rescue is seeing an injured animal come in, see it regain its strength and health, and have it end with a successful release. I enjoy learning about and working with all the various birds that come into the center, like the Western Grebe, my favorite so far, with its long, slender neck and soft, silky feathers. Or the Northern Fulmar, a bird I didn’t even know about before becoming a volunteer, but now really enjoy catching a glimpse of it bathing in the pools. I am eager to apply and develop the skills that I have learned thus far to grow as a rehabilitator.

It’s very gratifying to know that the birds we help are going back out into the wild to live out their lives as they were meant to before we had to intervene and hopefully contributing to the success of the species. I look forward to forming part of an organization that inspires and educates others to live in harmony with aquatic birds, and other wildlife, so that we may all enjoy the world we share.

-Lisbeth Montenegro
Part-time Rehabilitation Technician
International Bird Rescue

March 6, 2018

Michelle Bellizzi: Bird Rescue Staff since 2000

Editor’s Note: The work we do at Bird Rescue wouldn’t be possible without our amazing team of staff, volunteers, and board members! Read below to meet one of our stellar team members!

Ever wondered who’s responsible for deploying the troops when a spill arises? That would be our intrepid Response Services Team! Today’s Staff Spotlight features one of those team members, Michelle Bellizzi! Michelle is one of the primary points of contact in the event of an oil spill, both locally and internationally, and is the right hand of our Response Services Director, Barbara Callahan. She has been an integral part of the Bird Rescue team since 2000, and we are grateful to have her on board! Like any good responder, Michelle not only has a skill for multitasking and staying calm under pressure but in bringing levity and enthusiasm to any situation.

Michelle first started at Bird Rescue after a friend saw a posting on Craigslist about volunteering. Though she was employed in another field at the time, the self-proclaimed “non-volunteer type of person,” decided she would give it a shot. When she showed up to her first-day volunteering, the wildlife center was full to the brim with sick pelicans, which included the poop and vomit that accompanies them. As a newbie to the bird rehabilitation world, she was a little more than put off by smell and the mess that surrounded her. She wasn’t sure she would return –  that is until she got up close and personal with her first pelican. Michelle describes standing 5 feet away from the large and majestic bird, and at that moment she said, her heart melted, and she was hooked.

One day a weekend turned into two days a weekend, which turned into evenings after work, and eventually, Michelle found herself leaving her old career behind, and stepping happily into her new home. Starting as a technician, she has worn many hats over the years, including Center Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. While she misses the action of being in the clinic, Michelle appreciates her current role because of its ability to allow her to make an impact on a large number of birds at once.

When not at Bird Rescue, Michelle can be found snuggling with her parrot Gertie, spending time with her longtime partner Blake, or enjoying the many delights of the Bay Area. She loves California and enjoys exploring all of the beauty that it has to offer.

Thank you, Michelle, for all that you do! We are lucky to have such a funny, hardworking, and knowledgeable character on our team!

December 4, 2017

Devin Hanson: Bird Rescue Staff Since 2015

Staff Spotlight:
The work we do at Bird Rescue wouldn’t be possible without our amazing team of staff and volunteers! Read below to meet one of our stellar team members.

Devin Hanson – bird washing at our LA wildlife center

Devin started with Bird Rescue as an intern and was so wonderful that we had to hire her as one of our two full-time Rehabilitation Technicians at our Los Angeles wildlife center. Her background is in Marine Biology, which she studied as an undergrad at the University of Oregon.

Devin originally hails from the state of Washington’s Puget Sound area, where her love of marine biology was first born. She grew up in a small town where one of the major pastimes was tracking the lives of the area’s three well-known pods of orcas. Devin recounts these experiences fondly and says they are what inspired her to go into marine science. Devin tells us she is happy to be at Bird Rescue and feels lucky to be part of an organization that provides great care for birds and great training for its staff.

When Devin is not hard at work saving birds’ lives, she enjoys gardening, dancing, and teaching. She is a lifelong competitive dancer (hip-hop, contemporary, and lyrical) who believes that dancing is fun and brings balance to her life. She recently began teaching a hip-hop class that some of her fellow staff members have attended (the word is that it’s quite the workout!).

We love having interesting, knowledgeable, and creative teammates like Devin—she’s a hard worker and a valuable co-worker, and she’s brought her dancing skills to us for some after-work fun. Thanks, Devin, for bringing all of your assets to the Bird Rescue family!