I more or less fell into the animal care field in middle school, when a local parrot rescue brought a few birds to my school and I was assigned to listen to their ten minute presentation. I fell in love with the birds and asked my parents if I could volunteer with them (and if they could drive me, since I was 13). Shortly after that, we adopted my Quaker parrot, Buddy, and I never stopped volunteering until I moved away for college. Birds have always been a fascination of mine; if you look at all the stuffed animals I had growing up, almost all of them are birds, I just never would have guessed I’d end up taking care of them as a career!
Once I got my biology degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (go Badgers) I did not know what was next. I remembered my time spent with the parrot rescue and thought I would just get a job at the Milwaukee County Zoo. I had no idea what that actually meant or how difficult it is to find zookeeping work! My first internship came a year and a half later at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, and I loved it. From there I ended up moving to Salt Lake City to work at the Tracy Aviary, then the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. After that I moved to Dallas to work at the Dallas World Aquarium, then Laura and I moved here.
Working in zoos over the last four years gave me the opportunity to work with many different birds – small songbirds, toucans and hornbills, penguins and vultures and other exotic species in between. Parrots always will be special to me, and I am glad to have the opportunity to care for so many feathered friends that deserve all the attention we can give!