Member Spotlight
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This special feature showcases AAV's most valuable asset--our members--by highlighting our diverse backgrounds, professional activities, experience, and geographic locations.

 

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June 2020: Dr. Jessica Magnotti

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 2, 2020

AAV Member Since: 

2016

What was the first bird job you ever had?

The first job I had working with birds was at a mom-and-pop pet store near my hometown. They hand raised parrots and offered boarding services for all kinds of exotic animals. This was where I became acquainted with and fell in love with birds. I was taught how to trim nails and wings (of which I have since learned many different techniques!) and how to hand feed the babies, monitoring and recording their weight throughout the day. I have since been fortunate to get to know many of the other incredible families that make up the wonderful class of Aves!

Most memorable AAV experience or contribution

The most memorable AAV experience was starting up the first AAV student chapter at my school, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. I was a first year vet student and someone asked if I was interested in starting an AAV student chapter at the vet school. I had learned about AAV when I was in high school and first looking at what it takes to become a bird vet. I was ecstatic to do anything bird related, let alone help start the first AAV chapter at our school, especially so early in my vet school career! It was a lot of hard work and planning, but later that year we got the club up and running. There were only a handful of us in each class who wanted to work on birds, but we found each other! Our school's teaching hospital didn't see birds (or any exotics) and as a result we didn't get many opportunities during our curriculum to learn about feathered things. This made any avian education we could receive invaluable to us. Since then, we have had the honor of hosting many incredible speakers who freely gave their time to visit and educate us through weekend lectures and labs. We were able to learn and practice many clinical skills during these meetings that will be sure to benefit us in our future careers. The AAV community is full of so many compassionate, generous, and highly skilled veterinarians. I am honored to be learning from the best!

What is your favorite avian species and why?

There's just something about macaws that I can't help but love. They are loud and kooky, can be difficult and sassy, but are also so silly and playful. I currently have a 22 year old severe macaw named Wiley who has taught me so much about what it takes to be a good bird parent (parront?) and I am learning new things every day! I also have a blue-crowned conure named Petrie, and 2 green-cheeked conures, Navi and Kiwi. I am certainly partial to all of these species!

Best benefits of AAV membership?

The networking opportunities are probably some of the most valuable benefits of AAV membership. I have met and learned from so many wonderful veterinarians in AAV. These examples range from finding speakers for our student chapter meetings to connecting with AAV members for externship opportunities during my clinical year of school. I would not be where I am today without the help of so many wonderful, kind, and compassionate AAV members. I look forward to continuing on as a member after graduation!

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

I would most likely have gone to music school. I have been playing piano since I can remember and guitar for 18 years. I have learned bits and pieces on a handful of other instruments over the years (mandolin, harmonica, ukelele, violin and banjo) but my two favorites will always be piano and guitar. Years ago, my best friend and I used to play fairly regularly at a local cafe and it was some of the most fun I have ever had!


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March 2020: Isabelle Kwon

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

AAV Member Since: 

2019

What was the first bird job you ever had?

My first bird experience was working with non-releasable raptors as part of an environmental education program called Wild Ontario at the same time that I began my undergraduate studies in 2014. Almost 6 years later, I am still involved with the program, helping with the daily care and training of falcons, owls, and hawks, as well as delivery of programs that educate the public about native raptor species.

What is your favorite avian species and why?

Chickens will always hold a special place in my heart. I have been doing research on the behaviour and welfare of domestic chickens in the meat and egg industries for the last 5 years and have fallen in love with their intelligence and personalities, which can be just as fascinating and entertaining as those of companion parrot species.

Best benefits of AAV membership?

An AAV membership provides a lot of resources to veterinary students interested in avian medicine. I find that these can be fun to go through when I want to take a break from studying for my classes in vet school. I'm also looking forward to the potential connections that I might be able to make through my membership.

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

My first real love before animals in general was dinosaurs, so I might have ended up in paleontology. Otherwise, I am also passionate about animal training, and considered working towards becoming a professional animal behaviour consultant specializing in avian behaviour at one point.

What was your favorite class or activity in vet school/vet tech school/college?

I'm currently only in my second year of vet school, but my favourite class at the moment is Principles of Disease in Veterinary Medicine. It is an enormous amount of content to learn, but it made me realize that I also have an interest in pathology. Getting to learn about the occasional avian-specific disease is also a bonus.


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February 2020: Dr. Susan Tyson-Pello

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 13, 2020

AAV Member Since: 

2011

What was the first bird job you ever had?

During college, I started as a veterinary technician at an exotics clinic in North Jersey.

Most memorable AAV experience or contribution

Participating in my first surgical lab was the most memorable. Since attending my first AAV conference I have signed up for a hands-on lab every year. It is great to see my mentors enjoy teaching as much as I enjoy learning. It's even more amazing to be able to then pass on that knowledge to new veterinarians and students. I'm looking forward to serving as AAV's Hands-on Workshop Coordinator for ExoticsCon 2020!

What is your favorite avian species and why?

It's hard to just pick one! My favorite psittacine would be a cockatiel with their sweet but spicy personality, my favorite regional wildlife species would be the great horned owl with their strength and fierceness, and who doesn't love chickens and waterfowl!!

What was the last interesting avian medical or surgical issue you dealt with in your work?

Rose-breasted galah with granulomatous cellulitis, dermatitis and osteomyelitis of the left wing and left distal phalanx of digit 2, cultures revealed MRSA. The bird was wasting away but after a full wing amputation and digit amputations, it is now thriving and pain free.

Best benefits of AAV membership?

I love that AAV fosters collective learning, sharing of knowledge, and fostering of new veterinarians.

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

Wildlife rehabilitation

What was your favorite class or activity in vet school/vet tech school/college?

I participated in a dairy cattle practicum in college which I loved. In veterinary school my exotic rotations were my favorite. I had the opportunity to spend 4 weeks at LSU which grew my love for wildlife.


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January 2020: Dr. Amber Lee

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 15, 2020

AAV Member Since: 

2012

What was the first bird job you ever had?

My residency was officially the first job I had with birds. Unofficially, I bred and raised Australian native parrots throughout my childhood and this is where my love of birds came from.

Most memorable AAV experience or contribution

A highlight was being awarded an International Scholarship to attend my first AAV conference in 2012 in Seattle. I met such amazing colleagues that I am friends with and get to see every year at the conference!

What is your favorite avian species and why?

I have a soft spot for cockatiels, I love them because they were the first bird I owned, and the reason I became a veterinarian. As I have worked more with birds, I love Caiques, they are such clowns and I love their personalities.

What was the last interesting avian medical or surgical issue you dealt with in your work?

Recently I was able to treat a chicken with lead toxicity that required a blood transfusion. This was such a cool case because I was able to work with a local rescue to obtain Roosters that were her blood donors.

Best benefits of AAV membership?

I love being able to connect with other like-minded veterinarians, going to the annual conference to learn and get the latest up-to-date information. Additionally, AAV have worked hard in recent years to provide a lot of educational tools for members including client information sheets and online webinars.

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

Probably an ornithologist working in conservation field work.

What was your favorite class or activity in vet school/vet tech school/college?

My favorite class was our Avian, Exotic and Wildlife Course, I knew from the beginning what my professional goals were so I couldn't wait for the official learning of avian medicine in the last couple of years of the course.

Describe an anecdote that would be of interest to your colleagues

Coming to the US to study Avian medicine has been a huge journey for me, but I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had. During my residency I lucky enough to work with Bald Eagle, this was such a special moment as these birds are so majestic and special. But my advice to recent and new graduate veterinarians interested in avian medicine is to find a great mentor and make the time to learn from them.

Do you have a favorite tip or trick for clinical avian practice that you can share with AAV members?

I love using the lone-star retractor, it is such a versatile surgery tool. It is great for coelomic surgery but I also use for avian dystocia to help dilate the cloaca and find the oviductal opening. It has many uses in small mammal and reptile medicine too.

More About Dr. Lee  

Dr. Lee has found social media to be a useful tool – you can find her on Twitter @DrAmberLee and Instagram @dr_amber_lee. She shared a few photos from recent cases to give us a glimpse of her work as an avian veterinarian.

 

 

 


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December 2019: Morgan Young

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 11, 2019

AAV Member Since: 

2018

What was the first bird job you ever had?

A wildlife rehabilitation center that worked to a large degree with different avian species, especially raptors.

Most memorable AAV experience or contribution

Recently our club was able to take a field trip to a wonderfully run non-profit parrot rescue (the only one in the state of Iowa). It was a great learning experience thanks to the expertise of our advisor, Dr. Bianca Zaffarano!

What is your favorite avian species and why?

Turkey Vultures--sadly misunderstood but incredibly intelligent! I love their individual personalities and the significant roles they play in their ecosystems.

Best benefits of AAV membership?

The student portal is great! I have used the externship locator and I plan on applying for scholarships for externships as well as our student chapter for club events. I also love the Online Education Portal. The topics and video presentations are a wonderful tool for filling in some gaps were the school curriculum may fall short. They have also given me ideas for new topics and wet labs for our club!

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

I'm confident I would still be working with birds in some fashion. My BS degree focused on wildlife care and many people in my field find jobs at zoos, conservation centers, and wildlife rehabilitation centers. I have one friend who is an aviculturist at the International Crane Foundation--very cool!


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November 2019: Dr. Lara Backus

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 14, 2019

AAV Member Since: 

2013

Most memorable AAV experience or contribution

My most memorable experience was when I went to the AAV conference for the first time during veterinary school. This was the first time that I had been surrounded by other people who were passionate about avian and exotic medicine and I was blown away by all of the knowledge that was being shared. This was also the moment that convinced me that I wanted to pursue a career in avian and exotic medicine.

What is your favorite avian species and why?

My favorite avian species would have to be a cockatiel, even though they're one of the most common birds we see. I just think they have so much personality that even when they're being sassy in the exam room I can't help but find them cute.

Best benefits of AAV membership?

For me, the best part of AAV membership is the access to a wide variety of avian medicine knowledge, either via contacts with colleagues or the research posted in the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery. I feel like one of the more interesting parts of avian and exotic medicine is how much we all still have to learn about our patients and each new bit of knowledge we're able to obtain is invaluable.

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

If I hadn't chosen veterinary medicine I probably would have done something related to music, most likely music education.


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October 2019: Dr. Seth Oster

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 17, 2019

AAV Member Since: 

2010

What was the first bird job you ever had?

Prior to going to college I never had a chance to work with birds. After starting college and trying a few different jobs trying to build my resume for vet school, I found a job at the Southeastern Raptor Center working in their education collection. This was a great opportunity, as not only did I get to work with great birds, but I got to teach the public about them and their value in our ecosystems.

What is your favorite avian species and why?

I love black vultures. They are incredibly intelligent birds. In a lot of ways they have very similar behaviors to many of our companion birds. I have had the chance to work with several educational black vultures and they are as nice as any psittacine I have met. Due to their intelligence, I have seen them become very crafty trying to outsmart their trainers, and often times we have had to implement foraging programs similar to what I would recommend for a companion bird. Vultures get a bad perception of being messy and lazy. Take some time to meet one of these birds if you have an educational program near you.

What was the last interesting avian medical or surgical issue you dealt with in your work?

We recently saw a falconer whose Harris hawk had suffered a very distal fracture of the right tarsometatarsus. We had a very limited amount of bone to work with, but were able to place a type II external fixator on the leg. Within 3 hours of recovery, the patient was weight bearing on the leg and able to grasp with the foot. I am always amazed at how quickly these patients can recover from something that would seem so debilitating to us.

Best benefits of AAV membership?

The chance to meet and interact with fellow bird nerds has been amazing. When I came through vet school, Auburn only had a raptor program. I had no chance to get any exposure to companion birds through my school work. Attending AAV's conference back when it was in Seattle, I had the chance to meet some clinicians that later would allow me to come visit their clinic while I was in my senior year. This was a chance to expand my knowledge beyond what I could achieve at my school. Since graduating, networking with fellow members has continued to provide me with opportunities to learn and grow as an avian veterinarian.

What was your favorite class or activity in vet school/vet tech school/college?

While in undergraduate and vet school, I worked in a raptor rehabilitation center. This was by far my favorite activity during school. It kept me focused on what I was working towards and let me see the application of my classes. Plus it was nice to get outside and do some work rather than sitting inside studying.


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September 2019: Shamsul Alam Roky

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 18, 2019

AAV Member Since: 

2017

Most memorable AAV experience or contribution

Undoubtedly, when I got the 2018 AAV Student Externship Scholarship which is the most memorable moment in my life. This helped me to open a path to enrich myself through an externship in an aviary. I can still remember those memorable days.

What is your favorite avian species and why?

Recently, Emu bird does enter into my favorite list. They are so friendly and I did examined them during my internship in Rangpur Zoo, Bangladesh, and I observed them very closely and liked their behavior to come close to the people and show their intimacy with the zoo-keeper.

What was the last interesting avian medical or surgical issue you dealt with in your work?

The most recent avian case I handled was about pump handled breathing in a short faced pigeon. As we have seen several cases about pump handled respiration in layer birds, but for me it's the first time where I saw this condition in a pigeon.

Best benefits of AAV membership?

It's a great opportunity to learn more about the avian species and AAV provides scholarships for the students which helps us a lot to expand our knowledge through externship. Together with many professionals, AAV creates a forum where we can share our thoughts and discuss about any query related to the avian medicine.

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

I think, i'd become a biologist.

What was your favorite class or activity in vet school/vet tech school/college?

During my class, I liked the presentation session very much. At first, we had to select a specific topic about birds, their behavior, management, diseases and treatment and then gave our presentation in front of the whole class separately. This helped to build ourselves strongly and gave us the courage. And also it is a very easy way to learn the latest information through ourselves.


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August 2019: Valérie St-Pierre

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

AAV Member Since: 

2019

What was the first bird job you ever had?

After my first year of vet school, I worked at ''Chouette à voir!'', which is a rehabilitation center for birds of prey, and I also worked at the Birds of Prey Clinic after my second year.

What is your favorite avian species and why?

I would have to say the peregrine falcon, because we trained three of them at ''Chouette à voir!'' to hunt lures in front of visitors and I never stopped admiring their flight skills.

What was the last interesting avian medical or surgical issue you dealt with in your work?

Last summer, we had a lot of West Nile virus cases at the birds of prey clinic. The birds arrived in really poor shape and got better with only supportive care for a couple of weeks. Following their evolution from this condition was really impressive!

If you had not chosen your present career, what would you be doing?

I would have been a physiotherapist. I practiced figure skating for 15 years and competed for 10 years. I injured myself three times and always enjoyed my weekly visits to the physiotherapist office.

What was your favorite class or activity in vet school/vet tech school/college?

I recently had a couple of lectures with Dr. Isabelle Langlois on the essentials on companion bird medicine and they were my favorite lectures since I started vet school!


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July 2019: Thalita Reis

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 15, 2019

AAV Member Since: 

2015

What was the first bird job you ever had?

It was at a wildlife recovery center in 2007.

What is your favorite avian species and why?

I love all birds, but I have a passion for the cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus).

Best benefits of AAV membership?

Meet other veterinarian colleagues in love with birds, and get more knowledge about birds. 

What was your favorite class or activity in vet school/vet tech school/college?

Surgery class

  


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