Rehabilitating wildlife is a way of life for this former vet tech
written by Catie Joyce-Bulay
photography by Joni Kabana
To say birds are Lynn Tompkins’ passion is an understatement. For almost thirty years, birds have been her life at Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, where she works and lives, rising early each morning to feed feathered friends ranging from the common crow to golden eagles. Tompkins founded the center in Pendleton in 1990 with her husband and rehabilitates around 1,000 birds each year. Volunteers throughout Eastern Oregon and Washington help, along with four staff and a handful of interns who come from around the world to train with her. A capital campaign is in the works to build a full hospital, with indoor and outdoor classrooms and housing for caretakers and interns. Photo by Joni Kabana.
Most of the birds are injured or displaced as a result of human activity, anything from being hit by a car to running into a power line. “It just seems like we have an obligation to attempt to mitigate some of the damage that we do,” Tompkins said. Photo by Joni Kabana.
Education is an important component of the center. A handful of birds who can no longer survive on their own visit more than 150 regional schools and organizations a year. Sage, the 25-year-old great horned owl, is now visiting classrooms with teachers who remember her from their school days. Photo by Joni Kabana.