Elise Wolf, a professional in wild bird rehabilitation, will be the speaker at a presentation sponsored by the Sisters Trails Alliance (STA) Thursday, February 21, in the Sisters Camp Sherman Fire Station Community Hall.

Wolf is the director of Native Bird Care of Sisters, an avian rescue center right here in the Sisters area. Her topic will be "Sisters' Extraordinary Birds: Up Close & Personal." The talk is the latest in the Bjarne Holm Speakers Series sponsored by STA. The STA series focuses on local outdoor recreation and natural resource issues.

Native Bird Care of Sisters was founded by Wolf in 2010 as a nonprofit volunteer organization that offers specialized care and rehabilitation for shore, water, and songbirds, with the goal of caring for and helping wild birds in need.

Wolf promises a presentation that will include details "of some of our flighted community members that people are likely to see on Sisters' trails and habitats." She points out that "Central Oregon is part of the Pacific Flyway, the westernmost migratory passage for birds and an attractive home for many fascinating species. Getting to know and recognize the various birds that are part of our extraordinary, wild community is incredibly rewarding."

She plans to entertain the audience with anecdotes, stories, photographs and videos. Drawing on her extensive background as a wildlife advocate and professional avian rehabilitator, she will share insights on specific bird species that she has gained over her years of experience. Given STA's goal of encouraging people to get outside on our trails around Sisters, Wolf says she wants "to introduce Sisters to the remarkable birds around us, from golden-crowned kinglets to white-headed woodpeckers to trumpeter swans."

Wildlife rescuers are often afforded unique opportunities to gain insights into their wild patients in ways that others cannot experience, says Wolf. For her, the most rewarding aspect of her work is learning about the special behavioral aspects of her patients and who they are as individual creatures.

Wolf was introduced to avian rescue by a single, vehicle-injured crow. After locating an overworked bird rehabilitator to provide aid for the injured bird, she herself began volunteering in avian rescue. She found the work so rewarding that she decided to seek further training and obtain her own federal and state permits for bird rehabilitation.

Today, Native Bird Care of Sisters is a small care facility located on 40 private acres on the outskirts of Sisters. Wolf and her husband operate the facility on what she calls "a shoestring budget." Together, they both maintain outside jobs to support the bird rescue work. Native Bird Care of Sisters is 100 percent volunteer; and all donations are used for food, medicine, and housing for the avian patients.

Catherine Hayden, STA's current board chair, is especially interested in the educational aspect of the upcoming presentation. "I'm looking forward to learning about the rehabilitation work," she said. "How is it done? I'm also curious about the major causes of injury to native birds...."

Wolf says that people from all walks of life bring birds to her. According to Wolf, a big part of what she does is actually to help people. "Most people want to help an animal if they can," she said. "I've had ranchers bring me downed grebes from snowy pastures. A hiker brought me an injured warbler, and my husband even pulled a bird out of an outhouse once. We care for them all, from orphans to gunshot swans."

Wolf makes a point that it is important to know when to offer assistance and when to leave a bird alone; but, there are "no hard rules," she says. "When to help depends so much on the situation, the species, the time of year, the weather and, of course, the health of the animal."

Native Bird Care set up their facility to have the capacity to adjust to the needs of each type of bird they take in, since each bird needs specialized nutrition, housing, and treatment. Song, water, and shorebirds have widely divergent adaptations that have to be accommodated when they are in care.

Native Bird Care's clientele includes such interesting species as trumpeter swans, white-headed woodpeckers, loons, Townsend's solitaires, evening grosbeaks, lesser goldfinches, spotted sandpipers, and snipes. Further information on Native Bird Care of Sisters can be found at www.nativebirdcare.org.

"We are always looking for people who might like to help," said Wolf, "if you think you would like to get involved, send us an email. We'd love to hear from you."

Through sponsorship of public presentations such as this one, STA is working to promote outdoor public recreation and education in Sisters Country. This next event will be held in the Sisters Camp Sherman Fire Station Community Hall in downtown Sisters at 301 S. Elm St. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the formal program will begin at 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public, but donations would be appreciated. A $5 amount has been suggested. Light refreshments will be served.

Five years ago, STA's speaker series was launched by the late Bjarne Holm, for whom STA posthumously named the series in 2016.

His widow and current STA board member Robin Holm said, "I am looking forward to hearing Elise's talk about her bird rescues over the years. Also, she will discuss the types of birds we are apt to see while walking on our local trails. She will probably give us some hints about what to do if we happen upon an injured bird."

For more information about STA call 541-719-8822 or visit www.sisterstrails.org or follow STA on Facebook at Sisters Trails Alliance.