My interest in all things avian stems from my Father and his incubators. Who could forget the first time they witness new life emerge from one of those oval wonders. Growing up with birds made it all to clear where my career should take me. When I wasn’t in school I’d either be volunteering at my local zoo, going for long walks along the streams and fields around our home or sketching the things I saw there. Attending university, some years later, opened many doors. I was offered my first paid job as an Aviculturalist before I’d left. I got to work with many brilliant and likeminded people, which only encouraged me to join clubs and societies to further feed my bird addiction. To my delight, this included trips abroad to visit curators and their collections. Shortly after a tour of some private collections in The Netherlands, I was approached about a new venture. Forever to be a favourite experience, I assisted with the breeding and rearing Toucans and Aracaris. If you ever have the pleasure to acquaint with a young Toco Toucan I highly recommend it! As a thank you for my time I was offered a place on an avian egg incubation course. Little did I know this was the start of what will hopefully be an extended journey with WWT. I like to think I’m quite self-motivated but my true drive has always come from other passionate people I’m fortunate enough to have always been surround by.
As a Conservation Breeding Aviculturalist, my work takes place behind the scenes. Caring mainly for a safe-guard population of Spoon-billed Sandpipers, but also assisting with Baer’s Pochard, Ferruginous Duck and Black-tailed Godwits, tending to their day to day and seasonal needs. When not tending to the birds, the work here involves developing and trialling with new methods of rearing, releasing, feeding, breeding and more! For example, the Tufted Duck release trial at Slimbridge, where a ‘floating aviary’ designed to soft release diving ducks was tested in full. This is in preparation for the Madagascan Pochard release in the near future. With many projects in progress there is never a dull moment nor minute to spare. I also contribute to the Spoon-billed Sandpiper blog when time allows. In 2018 I was fortunate enough to assist with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Headstarting project in the Russian Far East, releasing 22 birds to join the wild population.
I am proficient in avian husbandry, taking particular interest in breeding, having cared for numerous species through the Aves Class privately and for collections throughout my life. I have been able to specialise in hand-rearing through various jobs and personal interest. I am experienced in egg incubation for similar reasons. I’m always keen to build on these skills and develop new ones, occasionally through courses and conferences but mostly gained from the teachings of those around me. My non-avian skills include observational and scientific drawing.