The Bird Rescue family welcomes our newest San Francisco Bay-Delta wildlife center clinic staff, Sylvia Bauer. For as long as she can remember, Sylvia has been keenly interested in animals and has taken measures to make the world a better place through studying and caring for them. Her passion became activated during her high school years in Elk Grove, CA, when she joined Future Farmers of America (FFA), specializing in hands-on work with poultry. She eventually earned an American Degree, the highest distinction for FFA members.
Sylvia then attended California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo where she graduated in 2015 with a major in Animal Science and a minor in Poultry Management. As with many college-bound students interested in animals, at first, she thought she was aiming for a vet degree. Through other opportunities at Cal Poly, she discovered that she could interface with wildlife (and not just domestic or farm species). As Sylvia explains now, “My journey led me other places and now I am completely content not being a vet!”.
After college Sylvia took on several internships, including the San Diego Zoo Safari Park where she recalls falling in love with three animals in particular: an old Meerkat going grey around the muzzle, and a tiny African deer called a Dik-dik who gave her a little snort when she saw her coming. The most exciting opportunity for Sylvia though was working with the zoo’s new baby rhino named Chutti, whom she fed oversized bottles of food that the baby guzzled at an astounding rate. She also interned for a time at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, building research enclosures. She even had the opportunity to give reindeer vaccinations and study herd health.
Sylvia had never even heard of International Bird Rescue until 2018 when her aunt, a long-time donor to Bird Rescue, offered to bring Sylvia along to one of our public events. She was impressed by what she saw, but it wasn’t until she browsed the internet one day looking for a new full-time position that Bird Rescue came up again, this time with a job opening. She interviewed, and the rest is history and Sylvia has now been on-board with us for two months!
So far, her favorite part about coming to work is “when you show up for work and learn that a bird patient is NOT there – and you know it got released back to its wild home!” She also found that the most surprising thing about working with seabirds is, “the size of the birds when you’re actually handling them as opposed to when you’re out birding. For example, a Bufflehead is more compact than you think it might be. It’s a humbling moment when you’re getting to know birds on an intimate level, and it’s awesome to experience wildlife up close.”
Sylvia looks forward to becoming more deeply connected to the community of like-minded people who care about helping the environment and who are as passionate as she is about helping wildlife. Welcome Sylvia, we are thrilled and honored to have you in our Bird Rescue family!