The Bird Center of Michigan is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that runs solely off of donations. The Bird Center was founded by Carol Akerlof, who was helped by Karen Young and other animal lovers, in 2004. The city generously donated a facility for us to use, but move-outs are required during election season. Our facility is located in a residential neighborhood in Downtown Ann Arbor (Washtenaw County, Michigan).
As we continue to fulfill our mission, our successes would not be possible without the generous support of several local organizations and our many interns and volunteers.
The Bird Center of Michigan is committed to aiding birds, wildlife, and the environment through public education and rehabilitation.
2021 Board Members
Dana DeBenham – President
Georgette Hansen – Secretary/Treasurer
Marissa Jardine – Co-Manager
Grace Goetting – Co-Manager
Dominick Fenech – Rehab Supervisor & Release Coordinator
Katie Baxter – Rehab Assistant
Who We Are
The Bird Center of Michigan is a wildlife rehabilitation organization dedicated to the care of injured and orphaned wild birds. If you have found an injured or a seemingly orphaned baby bird, our interns can advise you what to do next. Our trained staff will care for injured birds at our facility and if necessary obtain veterinary advice. Rehabilitated birds will be released back into their natural habitat. In the case of baby birds, many times, what appears to be an orphaned baby bird is simply a fledgling whose parents are close by, encouraging it to fly. Our staff can help you determine if it is possible to safely return the bird to its parents or if it has truly been orphaned. It is always best for the bird to be raised by its parents if at all possible.
More Bird Center Facts
We received our first grant from the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation in 2005. The Foundation has continued to support the Bird Center every year since then. Their initial grant allowed us to lease a facility to rehabilitate our birds and to pay student interns a small stipend. The City of Ann Arbor helped us find affordable space, thanks particularly to City Council Member Leigh Greden and the city’s Facilities Management Department. In prior years, we’ve closed up our treatment space, but continued to field questions and inquiries about injured wild birds from the public.
We have also received generous support from The Orpha C. Correll Fund for Animal & Bird Welfare and Helmut & Candis Stern Animal & Bird Welfare Fund, both affiliated with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, and the Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon. Orpha also volunteered for us for years! This support has allowed us to further expand our staff so that we can deliver even better care to the injured birds of Washtenaw and surrounding counties in southeast Michigan.
It is a great help to have all our birds and resources together in one location. Baby birds have to be fed every 30 minutes from dawn until dusk. And they – as well as their surroundings – must be kept clean and dry at all times. Before we had our current location, birds were distributed among volunteer homes, requiring significantly more effort. In 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic, we took in nearly 1400 birds of many different species and logged over 3000 phone calls for help and advice.
We work closely with the DNR and with groups such as the Michigan, National, and International Wildlife Rehabilitators Associations which are dedicated to continuing education in the care and rehabilitation of wildlife.
The Bird Center of Michigan plans one or more training sessions throughout the year to train our interns and volunteers.
Our Vision for the Future
We have great plans for the future and hope to not just lease space but one day establish a permanent home for the Bird Center of Michigan.
With a permanent home we hope to be able to attract more volunteers and grow and serve as a community organization that is committed to aiding birds, wildlife and the environment through public education and rehabilitation.