Dr. Ford's History
I grew up in rural western Washington and my fascination for birds began in 1983 at the age of 13. Initially I had pet geese and turkeys and, later, pigeons and chickens. With the support of teachers, I studied college-level ornithology textbooks and prepared for a career in birds. Ironically, I was told by high school career counselors that I could never be a veterinarian because my grades weren't "perfect." Goes to show you, never underestimate a child's passion based on grades alone. Despite the discouragement, I went on to college and volunteered with the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka, Alaska. A big turning point in my life came with the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989. It was through that disaster that I learned that there were veterinarians who specialized in avian medicine. I immediately set my sites on that career and persevered through until I achieved my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (Washington State University) in 1998 and my avian specialty board (American Board of Veterinary Practitioners) in 2006. I stopped seeing non-avian patients in 2002 and have worked in various clinical environments since. But my first love has always been helping wildlife, either in wildlife centers, caring for the sick and injured, or in field research support helping biologists study populations and work out conservation strategies.
Current Professional Activities
- My primary activity is serving wildlife research clients with consulting, preparation, and field deployment services, often to remote locations.
- Pet birds on a part-time, referral basis in the Milwaukee area.
- Online consulting through Veterinary Information Network.
- Volunteering services for a local pet bird rescue, Center for Avian Rehabilitation and Education.
I currently live in Milwaukee, WI with my husband, Colin. We have four spoiled chickens. We like to travel together, especially in Europe. I also enjoy flying airplanes, writing fiction, and creating digital art in my spare time.