Jacqueline Annis (goes by Jackie)
Rehabs in Canada
CWR since 2017
- How long have you been rehabilitating wildlife and what led you to become a wildlife rehabilitator?
I began rehabilitating wildlife in 2016. I was doing a Masters in Music Composition and feeling very lost. I spent all of my time taking care of my rescue lovebird, Benedict, avoiding the work that I was supposed to be doing for school. I was very depressed, feeling disconnected from my music and stressed under pressure trying to be creative for my professors. I knew in my gut that this was not my purpose, but did not know what to do next. Finally, a good friend of mine encouraged me to take a break from my Masters and suggested seeing if I could “help birds”. She knew that I had a deep desire to mitigate human damage to animals that had no say in how they had been treated. I applied for an internship with International Bird Rescue in California and my life changed forever. After I completed a six month live-in internship I began working in wildlife rehabilitation full-time in Alberta and I’ve never looked back!
- What is your favorite animal you work with?
My favourite animal to work with is a Cedar Waxwing or a Bohemian Waxwing. These dudes are the best patients! Even when they’re doing poorly they are somehow always up for eating berries and getting slightly tipsy. I find them hilarious, so gorgeous, and generally don’t have to worry about them losing weight or getting into trouble.
- When did you know you wanted to work with wildlife?
I knew I wanted to work with wildlife when I left my internship to come back to Canada. I could barely keep the tears back when I said goodbye! Every morning during those six months I woke up with so much energy and enthusiasm, feeling blessed that I had the privilege of spending my entire day around such amazing animals. While during my music education I had felt lost, I knew that spending my days trying to help and give back to the environment was my calling. Even after being exhausted from working for 12 hours a day I wanted to check on all of the baby birds in the evening, making sure they were warm and had enough food. It was an eye-opening experience that will always be very special in my heart.
- What is an animal you dream to work with?
My dream is to work with a Laysan Albatross one day! They are absolutely stunning.
- Do you work with other rehabbers or do you work independently?
All of my experience has been with other rehabbers and I have never worked alone. I am definitely impressed with anyone who rehabs independently as it is a lot of work – physically, emotionally and mentally.
- Do you work with all species, if no, which groups of animals do you concentrate on?
At my job we worked with all species living in the area. In California the centre focused on seabirds. My passion is definitely for birds, however working with mammals has its perks! Baby skunks are TOO cute!
- Do you have any pets?
My husband and I recently adopted a rescue budgie, Stella, who was abandoned behind a dumpster. She is absolutely hilarious as she loves to sing and dance. Before that I had my beloved rescue lovebird who unfortunately passed away in September… He was my heart and soul so the past few months have been very difficult for me. Stella has definitely helped eased the pain.
- What are some of your hobbies?
I love singing, dancing, and listening to music! I now see that music is best suited for me as a hobby though. I am also a Zumba instructor and enjoy running, hiking and swimming. If you had to ask me my favourite things in the world, I’d probably say my husband, family, friends, food (especially cheese), birds, wildlife and conservation, and movies.
- Do you volunteer for other organizations?
Yes! I have been an avid volunteer for many years. Right now I help out the Calgary Avian and Exotic Pet Clinic which has been a ton of fun. I will be doing an aquatic bird rehabilitation training for Calgary Wildlife who are good friends and hope to do more volunteering for them in the future. Once I’m done completing my pre-requisites I’d like to start running Zumba classes for the Special Olympics again as well.
- If you could travel anywhere in the world specifically for wildlife sighting, where would you go?
I was extremely fortunate to travel to the Galapagos Islands which was always my dream. Next if I could – birds of paradise in New Guinea!!