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A Veterinarian’s Devotion to Birds

In her story for from Guideposts, Dr. Pilar Fish explains why she has focused her veterinary practice on caring for birds for more than 20 years. Watch as Dr. Fish shares some of the rewards of working with these beloved creatures.


Hi, Guideposts. I’m Dr. Pilar Fish. 


There’s a huge diversity of birds around the world. There’s over 10,000 different species of birds, ranging from giant ostriches, and eagles, and condors, to the tiniest little hummingbird and finch. 

Birds are incredibly social. They do everything together. Birds will mate for life. And they spend their days together, eating and singing and flying together. And so it’s really fascinating how social birds are. 

I’ve been really fortunate, as a veterinarian for over 21 years, to care for thousands and thousands of birds. And at the National Aviary– I’ve been here for 12 years– we have over 150 different species. And every day I get to work with all these different types of birds and endangered species, such as the Andean condor, and African penguin, Toucan, so many different types of birds. 

And it can be really challenging. Because they are fragile patients. But it’s wonderful to be able to do all of our treatments and tests and surgeries, whatever they need to nurse them back to health. 

You get really attached to these birds. And many of them we know from when they hatch out of the eggs. I helped some of them hatch out of the eggs. And we watched them grow up, and have babies, and become older birds. 

And when they do start to pass away, it’s most important that we’re with them. Because every bird is valuable. And actually a scripture I think about says that not a sparrow falls without God knowing it. And that really tells me that every little bird is important, even the little sparrow. God knows when it dies. 

And so we take care of them. And not just provide all the medical things, but care for them with love and compassion. By far, the most rewarding thing is when they recover and we see them flying, and singing, and doing all their natural things again. 


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