Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center
Marc is about to release a young Bald Eagle
Marc is about to release a young Bald Eagle

Meet the People

Many individuals comprise Avian Haven’s human flock. The core, year-round, continuing staff members introduced below include Avian Haven's founders plus various managers and senior volunteers. You can also learn a little bit about our volunteer transporters.


Marc Payne, the co-founder of Avian Haven, has been a wildlife rehabilitator since 1986. Before coming to Maine, he spent 12 years at The Raptor Trust in Millington New Jersey. Marc has given numerous workshop and conference presentations, mostly on avian caging and Bald Eagle rehabilitation. He remains our raptor and herptile specialist, and also serves as one of our Clinic Managers.


Diane releases a juvenile Common Loon
Diane releases a juvenile Common Loon

Co-founder Diane Winn has been an avian rehabilitator since 1997. She has given numerous conference presentations as well as published several articles and book chapters on various aspects of rehabilitation, including songbird nutrition and housing. Earlier in her career, Diane was a Professor of Psychology at Colby College (she retired in 2007). She remains our loon and insectivore specialist.


Leigh holds a nestling Barred Owl
Leigh holds a nestling Barred Owl

Leigh Hallett joined Avian Haven as Executive Director in May 2022. She had followed our work closely for years, bringing in injured birds from time to time. Having lived in Maine much of her life, she's been an avid birdwatcher in the field and now is glad to be learning more about bird rehabilitation through her work supporting the administrative aspects of Avian Haven. Prior to joining us, she was Director of Agricultural Resource Development for the Maine Bureau of Agriculture. You can learn more about the Executive Director transition here.


Terry prepares to release a young Bald Eagle
Terry prepares to release a young Bald Eagle

Terry Heitz is a carpenter and cabinet maker by trade. He has also designed and built houses, as well as the cages for the facility at Avian Haven since before Avian Haven incorporated. His innovative designs (see the Dedicated Facilities section) combine beauty and practicality. Terry is also an experienced raptor handler and an expert photographer. Terry is Avian Haven’s Physical Plant Manager.


Chelsey feeds a young Common Loon
Chelsey feeds a young Common Loon

Chelsey Gundlach was a summer intern at Avian Haven in 2016, and she returned as a Clinic Assistant for the summer of 2018 after graduating from the University of Maine. Subsequently, Chelsey took a position as the Lead Animal Care Manager at WildCare Foundation in Noble, OK. But her heart never left Maine – it had been captured by two Common Loons she cared for in 2018. She gladly accepted our offer to return here as Rehabilitation Manager in June of 2021!


Tari Examines a Barred Owl
Tari Examines a Barred Owl

Tari Rowe began as a volunteer for Avian Haven, and before long, was delighted to accept the position of Clinic Manager. Tari is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with experience that includes wildlife rehabilitation, exotic pet and emergency veterinary medicine, wildlife sanctuary care, and holistic healing.


Laura monitors vital signs of a Mallard under anesthesia
Laura monitors vital signs of a Mallard under anesthesia

Before settling down in Maine in 2007, Laura Graham worked at wildlife rehabilitation facilities in various states, including Washington, North Carolina, Idaho, and California. For several years prior to joining our staff in 2014, Laura was a wildlife specialist at the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick Maine. Laura is our Associate Clinic Manager.


Brianna holds a Broad-winged Hawk
Brianna holds a Broad-winged Hawk

Brianna Guy started as a volunteer at Avian Haven in 2020, after graduating from the University of Maine, Orono, with a degree in Wildlife Science and Management. She previously worked in wildlife research positions, including studying ticks, small mammals, and gulls. Brianna is now our full-time Associate Rehabilitation Manager, performing hand-on care for all the species she fell in love with during her undergraduate career.


Laura Suomi-Lecker gives a presentation
Laura Suomi-Lecker gives a presentation

Laura Suomi-Lecker has been a seasonal volunteer at Avian Haven since 2007. In 2015, she became Avian Haven's Outreach Manager, and currently gives programs about our work at various locations statewide. Laura also directs Somerset Soil and Water Conservation District's Agricultural Allies Program, which is dedicated toward conserving grassland breeding habitats for species such as Bobolinks.


Amy holds a Mallard
Amy holds a Mallard

Amy Dillon has been with us for what seems like forever, though it's really only been since 2004! In recent years, Amy has shifted away from care-giving; she is currently our Associate Admissions Manager.


Dr. Herman sutures a foot laceration in a Loon
Dr. Herman sutures a foot laceration in a Loon

Consulting veterinarian Judith Herman, DVM, operates the Animal Wellness Center located in Augusta. Although Dr. Herman does not see companion birds in her practice, in her work with Avian Haven she has been a skillful surgeon and expert homeopathic consultant.


Dr. Pokras removes a fish hook from the mouth of a Great Black-backed Gull
Dr. Pokras removes a fish hook from the mouth of a Great Black-backed Gull

An emeritus professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Mark Pokras was also the Wildlife Clinic Director at Tufts for more than a decade prior to his retirement in 2008. But Mark is far from "retired" when it comes to ongoing projects such as causes of loon mortality and lead poisoning in eagles. He has been one of our most valued consultants for many years, and now that he's living in Maine, we get to see him in person once in a while!


Sue is about to release an American Crow
Sue is about to release an American Crow

Susan Hodges-Stone signed on as a volunteer transporter early in 2015, and before long, we'd invited her to join our onsite crew. Adept at offsite rescues and releases as well as onsite care of all species, Sue is an invaluable senior volunteer. Although she values all species equally, crows have had a special place in her heart.


Kathleen holds a Belted Kingfisher being checked for injuries
Kathleen holds a Belted Kingfisher being checked for injuries

Kathleen Lally started volunteering as a Portland-area transporter back in 2014, and was an important member of that team until she moved to Unity in 2018! She started volunteering onsite that year, and has since become a senior volunteer specializing in clinic assistance. Another of her talents is organizing supplies of all kinds.


Deb holds a Cooper's Hawk
Deb holds a Cooper's Hawk

Deb Huard stopped by Avian Haven one summer day in 2018 after a chance meeting with a volunteer transporter named Richard, who, like Deb, was photographing birds at the wetland near our location. In a conversation, Richard mentioned that Avian Haven was just a short distance up the road, and suggested that Deb stop by to check it out. Deb did indeed stop by, and signed up as a volunteer transporter. One day when she delivered birds, she was invited in to feed baby birds – and that was all it took for Deb to become a regular onsite volunteer.


Laura Moore takes a call about an injured bird
Laura Moore takes a call about an injured bird

Before moving to Maine in 2019, Laura Moore worked for the Cape Cod Times for a number of years, including as Circulation Operations Manager. Her relocation had been prompted by a desire to slow down and enjoy her hobby of bird photography, but when she saw our ad for advertisement for an Admissions Manager, she knew it was her dream job, and her experience managing newspaper deliveries prepared her very well for managing bird deliveries! She joined us in the early spring of 2021.


Tamika arranges a rescue
Tamika arranges a rescue

Tamika Adjemian became acquainted with Avian Haven through meeting and feeding Marc and Diane at her former restaurant. As a food biz person, she has customer experience and likes to make things right whenever possible. Tamika is enjoying learning more about birds and working for an organization doing the great deed of caring for them. She is currently our Assistant Admissions Manager.

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