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2018 Jeff Metcalf Rehabilitation Intern

**This internship is part of the University’s Jeff Metcalf Internship Program. By applying to this internship:



Intern Program Overview

The internship program at International Bird Rescue is a rigorous, hands-on learning program that immerses participants in every aspect of the operations of an aquatic bird hospital. The intensely rigorous nature of wildlife rehabilitation requires many of the same skills that are required in an oil spill, and interns who are able to adjust to the pace and volume of the peak season caseload have an advantage in adapting successfully to working in an oil spill response. Each hospital is staffed daily with at least two experienced Rehabilitation Technicians who oversee case management and facilitate the learning processes of interns and volunteers. 

Intern activities, benefits and learning opportunities

  • Species specific dietary/caging/aviary needs
  • Handling techniques
  • Herd health management
  • Intensive/critical care including tube feeding, fluid therapy, taking blood samples, performing exams, and triage
  • Oiled animal rehabilitation (mostly winter)
  • Orphan rearing (between May and July)
  • Pelagic bird care (mostly winter)
  • Participate in wildlife training sessions
  • Individual case management (fractures, fishhook and line injuries, road strikes, predator attacks, etc.)
  • Facilities/pool maintenance
  • Dirty work including cleaning, laundry, dishes, and handling fish to feed patients
  • Release rehabilitated birds back to the wild
  • Career networking with spill response and rehabilitation professionals, veterinarians, and researchers
  • Potential to join oil spill response team
  • Most common aquatic bird patients: herons, egrets, waterfowl, shorebirds, loons, grebes, murres and other alcids, gulls, pelicans, cormorants, and the occasional tubenose.


The Los Angeles facility is located on a scenic bluff overlooking the ocean in San Pedro. The LA center has a consistent influx of

animals year round, with the busiest seasons often occurring in the summer and winter months. Summers feature large numbers of

Brown Pelicans, while winters feature birds oiled from natural oil seeps off the southern California coast.

The San Francisco Bay facility is located in Fairfield, approximately 1 hour northeast of San Francisco, on the edge of Suisun Marsh, one of the largest wetland ecosystems in the world. Spring and summer are the busiest seasons because of a large influx of aquatic baby birds. Generally, the SF Bay center raises >300 heron and egret chicks, >1,200 ducklings, as well as dozens of shore birds and a variable number of fledgling Brown Pelicans.


Both centers offer very limited housing with local volunteers. Do not count on this option to be available when you apply! You must have your own vehicle to get to and from the center.

Interns are encouraged to reside locally and arrange for their own housing. We suggest using Airbnb, subletting an apartment, renting a room, or staying with a friend or relative nearby. Make sure to consider the commute between your living quarters and the center when researching places to stay.

Internship Parameters

Time commitment: Minimum of three months at 4 days per week from 8AM until closing. Day lengths vary seasonally, ranging from 8-12 hrs/day. Any season may present unpredictable emergencies, such as oil spills or disease outbreaks. Interns are expected to participate in the on-site response to such emergencies and may be asked to respond off-site if necessary, at Bird Rescue's expense.

Requirements: Previous experience handling wild birds is helpful, but not a prerequisite. The most important characteristics we look for in interns include the capacity to learn, respect for the animals, enthusiasm for the process of rehabilitation and a willingness to complete tasks in both a team and individual environment. We accept applications from prospective interns from all over the world.

You must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid form of ID (license/state ID for domestic interns or passport for international interns). 

Applications require:

1. A cover letter

2. A resumé or curriculum vitae including a list of references