Fall has arrived and as the days get shorter, the Bird Center of Michigan will be reducing our clinic hours accordingly. As of Friday, September 24th, our clinic phone and intake hours are 8:30 am – 7:30 pm, 7 days a week. Please do not bring a bird to the Center without speaking directly to a staff member first.
Earlier this week we received a lovely tribute to our Founder, Carol Akerlof, from one of the Bird Center’s former Clinic Directors, Bailey Hughes:
Carol Akerlof was a true saint.
During her time with us she helped many animals and people alike. Carol was the most generous and kind-hearted soul I had ever met. It was hard not to like Carol.
Because of Carol, so many birds, wildlife, pets, and other creatures were given a second chance. She respected all animals, from insects to elephants. Carol may no longer be with us, but will always remain the heart and soul of the Bird Center, despite its recent changes. For it’s because of her kindness, hard work, and dedication that we have this organization today, as well as other wildlife rehabilitation organizations.
Through the years, thousands of birds have been given a second chance and obtained their wings because of Carol. Carol was even awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association for her work with wildlife through the decades. She was very deserving of this award, and I thank the late Bird Center intern Amanda Margraves for her nomination.
I learned a lot from Carol, not just about birds, but nature and life in general. She gave me a lot of motherly advice through the years and became like a grandmother to me. I know the best way I can help her memory live on is to continue her mission and work. I hope to continue to save birds in our area in the near future, as well as educate the public, and am able to do that because of the knowledge I gleaned from her.
When I first applied to the Bird Center in 2007, little did I know the effect Carol and her organization would have on my life. My ultimate mission is to work with wild birds again, and become one of Wayne County’s few songbird rehabilitators.
Carol helped me through some of the toughest times in my life and has saved so many lives. She will always be remembered for her kind heart, generosity, dedication, and selflessness.
Now Carol has finally gotten her wings, and I will miss her dearly.
Rest in peace forever, Carol, and thank you for everything.
-Bailey Hughes, former Clinic Director
Thank you, Bailey, for your heartfelt tribute to such an amazing woman.
Audi and Ashley, Landscape Architecture grad students at U of M, are back at it and working hard to transform the Bird Center of Michigan’s landscape into a beautiful, naturalized, bird-friendly garden!
On Sunday, October 9th, they’ll be working on the backyard, and they need your help! If you are interested in helping, please join us whenever you can. The event runs from 8:30 am – 3 pm, weather permitting. (You do not need to volunteer for the entire day. Even a few hours will help!)
We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our Founder, Carol Akerlof. Carol’s kindness, calmness, compassion for people and animals, and undying determination have left a legacy of education and countless wild lives saved.
Around 1980, Carol was living in Palo Alto, CA, with her family, while her husband was working on a project for U of M. She and the children found an injured bird and took it to a wildlife rescue. That was the beginning of Carol’s serious involvement with wild bird rehabilitation. She was able to take a rehabilitation class and spent many days volunteering.
When Carol returned to Ann Arbor, she joined the wildlife rehab team at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. In 1984, she attended the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association Conference, and quickly applied and was granted a permit. She also applied to become a 501C3 non-profit organization.
It was official! The Bird Center then became a licensed Songbird Rehabilitation Center. Carol held a training session at Washtenaw Community College and began acquiring a group of passionate volunteers.
For many years birds were cared for in volunteers’ homes, with Carol’s careful guidance and support always available. Her phone rang well into the night, her refrigerator was filled with mealworms, and people constantly arrived at her door, often in tears, while lovingly carrying injured or baby birds.
In 2004, the Bird Center received a grant that allowed the center to move into the tiny building on Mary Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2021, the Bird Center of Washtenaw County became the Bird Center of Michigan and acquired a new home in Saline, Michigan with 2.5 acres. All due to Carol’s vision and foresight for saving birds.
We will be hosting a Celebration of Life with Carol’s friends and family at the Bird Center of Michigan. Details forthcoming. In the meantime, if you would like to donate to continue the legacy of this most AMAZING woman, please visit our donate page.