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 Havenís 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, entered wildlife rehabilitation in 1986. Before coming to Maine, he spent 12 years at The Raptor Trust in Millington, New Jersey. Marc gave numerous workshop and conference presentations, mostly on avian caging and Bald Eagle rehabilitation and served as a clinic manager and raptor and herptile specialist for Avian Haven until retiring in 2022.


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.


Lauren Young
Lauren Young holds Tanga, a resident Bateleur Eagle at the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri.

Lauren Young moved to Maine from Missouri to accept Avian Haven's new Operations Director position in January 2023. Lauren lives directly across the street from the main campus, and from there she can oversee all aspects of operations. She has more than 12 years of hands-on experience dedicated to raptor rehabilitation, both in a medical setting and through public education. Most recently she was Hospital Technician at the World Bird Sanctuary near St. Louis, MO, and previously worked for 9 years at Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky.


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 Havenís Physical Plant Manager.


Kim Chavez
Kim Chavez examines an American Crow in the clinic

Kim Chavez holds a bachelor's degree in Captive Wildlife Care and Education from Unity College. Kim also brings experience as a veterinary assistant in private practice. Formerly she filled multiple roles at Avian Haven over a period of 6 years and returned as Clinic Manager at the start of 2023. Kim also serves on the board of the John Sage Foundation, an organization dedicated to fostering connections between nature and community.


Tari Examines a Barred Owl
Tari Examines a Barred Owl

Tari Rowe began as a volunteer for Avian Haven and served as Clinic Manager in 2022. She remains part of the clinical team. 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 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 and our Facebook 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!


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, focusing her attention on clinical tasks. In the winter of 2023 she joined the staff as Clinic Assistant.


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. She is now our Procurement Coordinator.


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.


Genevieve Benites
Genevieve Benites holds a Peregrine Falcon being sedated for treatment

Genevieve Benites joined the Avian Haven staff in June 2022, first as an Admissions Assistant and later as a Rehab Assistant. Genny holds a bachelorís degree in Natural Resources Conservation in Wildlife Ecology from UM Amherst. She has been taking additional classes in wildlife rehab and looks forward to a career in the field. Genevieve also is a regular volunteer at the Acadia Wildlife Center.


Marcy DeCoff
Marcy DeCoff prepares to take photos of a raptor release in Kennebec County

Marcy DeCoff served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force before moving to Maine. She first volunteered at Avian Haven after finding and helping to rescue a stranded eaglet in the spring of 2022. After volunteering here for several months, we invited Marcy to join the staff as a Rehab Assistant. Marcy is also a photographer, and she has been contributing many of the images found on our social media pages.


Kayla Tibaldo
Kayla Tibaldo supports a Common Loon recovering from a procedure to remove a lead sinker it had ingested

Kayla Tibaldo began her work in wildlife rehab at the Wild Bird Fund in New York City, where she worked with a variety of small birds, and specialized in pigeon care. Kayla is also a licensed human occupational therapist, and does some similar work in her role as a Rehab Assistant at Avian Haven. Kayla still has a soft spot for pigeons, but is known for her diligent care and attention to enclosure setup for all species.


Kim Beamer is a Marine Corps Veteran who is pursuing a Master of Wildlife Conservation and Management degree from Unity College. At Avian Haven Kim works at the front desk as an Admissions Assistant and also behind the scenes as a Rehab Assistant. As an undergraduate, Kim assisted with various ornithological research projects, including data collection regarding pest infestations of Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow nests.


Wendy Webb
Wendy Webb updates her notes while arranging a bird transport.

Wendy Webb is one of our Admissions Assistants. Wendy has been a yoga instructor for more than 16 years, and brings a calm presence to the admissions desk. She joined Avian Haven during the busy summer season of 2022, and quickly learned the ropes to work with callers and volunteer transporters. Wendy is noted for arranging creative transportation plans that help birds arrive promptly from the far corners of the state.

Copyright © 2004-2023 All Rights Reserved
Sat 2/18/2023
Valid XHTML 1.1 Valid CSS!