Dr. Peterson loves birds & providing veterinary care for birds!
I’m Dr. Claire Peterson, and I want to share with you my absolute love of birds! I have loved birds for longer than I can remember (you can just ask my parents!). They were always my favorite exhibits at the Oregon Zoo and I would go to Audubon and take pictures of the wild song birds there for hours. When I was 13 I found a rehabilitation center that would allow kids my age to volunteer and I started volunteering cleaning cages and feeding the education birds there. In short time I was handling all of the birds of prey there (hawks, owls, and falcons) and giving tours of the facility. On my 18th birthday I went out and held my first eagle, and I haven’t looked back.
It was a little bit later until I was introduced to parrots. My friend growing up had a grey parrot named Ringo (who is still alive and well to this day) that I would obsess over. The first parrot I particularly became friends with was a white umbrella cockatoo at the Oregon Zoo who would come out for their bird shows. Kaya was not a fan of many people but she took a particular shining to me (she’s now retired from shows and living with one of her original keepers at their home in a beautiful little private aviary!). I still can’t believe how intelligent and what a huge variety of personalities that birds have.
I have learned so much working with birds; working with a raven taught me that sometimes it really is a challenge to be smarter than the bird you are attempting to ‘train’! Working with wildlife has taught me that birds are actually a lot tougher than we give them credit for. There have been several injured individuals that I’ve seen come into wildlife rehabilitation centers that have made miraculous recoveries. Unfortunately, there are also those who don’t despite everyone’s best efforts – and this has taught me how much one can love these alien little feathered creatures even with a broken heart.
So spread the word to your friends with feathered family members – Frontier and I love birds!