Melissa Dollard is the Avian Hospital Director and licensed wildlife rehabilitator for the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, treatment and rehabilitation of sick & injured wild birds.
Melissa joined the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary family in October of 2017.
Prior to arriving at Seaside, she was an intern at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where she worked intensively with raptors & other avian species. Melissa also trained with the center’s Avian Ambassadors, speaking at public events & schools to educate the community & to raise funds. After having the honor of successfully hand-raising a Belted Kingfisher nestling to release, she knew that wildlife rehabilitation was her passion.
After returning to Florida she mentored under Kris Porter who is a highly regarded retired zoologist from Busch Gardens, and licensed rehabilitator in the Tampa Bay area. Melissa was one of Porter’s first volunteers, and helped to create Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, all the while she continued to rescue and triage patients while finishing her Integrative Animal Biology degree.
After graduating from the University of South Florida with her B.S. in Integrative Animal Biology, she returned to Vancouver Island for a second internship at the beginning of 2016, and then was accepted for a six-month fellowship at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) on Sanibel Island. During her fellowship, Melissa worked intensively under CROW’s veterinarians & acquired advanced veterinary technician skills while working with a variety of wildlife species including birds, mammals, & sea turtles.
Following her fellowship at CROW, Melissa decided to expand her experience with animals by working at the Pinellas County Animal Services as the Veterinary Medical Assistant. During her time at the shelter, Melissa took on several of the shelter’s “project dogs,” and successfully rehabilitated them for adoption.
In her free time Melissa is an avid birder who also enjoys wildlife photography, as well as making the most of Florida’s outdoor activities.
Melissa is a certified wildlife rehabilitator with the IWRC, and is state licensed in Florida.
Thank Melissa for donating her time to the Friends of the Pelicans organization by making a donation.