Jay-Holcomb-IBRJay Holcomb, has been director of International Bird Rescue (IBR) since 1986. He has more than 40 years of of experience in animal rehabilitation. He began his career at the Marin Humane Society and then helped found the wildlife rehabilitation program at the Marin Wildlife Center in San Rafael, CA. He has a great breadth of experience working with seabirds, land birds, and mammals as well as birds of prey. Jay has been a U.S. Fish and Wildlife permitted Master Bird-Bander since 1979.

During the Exxon Valdez Spill (1989), Jay pioneered the Search and Rescue Program in Prince William Sound, the largest of its kind ever attempted. In addition, Jay managed the entire 6-month Rehabilitation Program caring for over 1,600 birds.

Jay has served on the Board of Directors for the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, an association of wildlife rehabilitators and centers. Jay was president of that organization for 8 terms. Jay was awarded the 1996 NWRA Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award given in the field of wildlife rehabilitation, recognizing his pioneering efforts and dedication to wildlife conservation.  In 2010, Oceana named him an Ocean Hero.

Since 2000, Jay has led most of the Bird Rescue responses including spills in France, South Africa, Mexico, Norway, Spain, Estonia, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Patagonia.

Jay lives in Tenino, Washington.

SF Chronicle story: For over 30 years, wildlife lover has come to the rescue


8 thoughts on “About

  1. Jay, I don’t know you. But I noticed your blog through Karen Trendler.
    I can empathize with your story. I’ve had my fair share of medical issues, including the frustrating appointments and usual remarks of the “can’t find anything”, “try this med”, “if it gets worse, come back” blah blah.
    Through years of surgeries(4 abdominal surgeries, removal of ovaries, uterus, intestines, tumors,etc), doctors, tests, physical therapy and recoveries, I’ve been through the wringer.
    It gets to a point when you’re thrilled to hear somethings wrong with you simply to justify what you’ve known all along.
    I’m sorry you’re going through this. But thankful there is a “face” for your ailment.
    Please take solace in knowing you’re not alone my friend. Stay strong and most importantly take it One day at a time.
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jay,

    Linda Wolf told Sally and I that you were ill. So sorry to hear that. I will put you in my prayers.

    Adele Moore
    TreeHouse Wildlife Center

  3. Hey Jay,
    I spoke with my sister Joanne who was at an event over the weekend, and she told me you were ill. It’s always a surprise to hear about someone being seriously ill who has your kind of life force – shouldn’t be, but it is. Laurie then mentioned your blog, which I was so happy to find. Joanne said that they auctioned off your remaining pelican love cups. She had given me hers (I love it), and was hoping to get another for herself, but her bid of $110 was out bid!! So, you’ll be happy to know you are continuing to fund raise for IBRC whether you know it or not.
    I think of you and everyone at IBRC often, and you will be in my thoughts and heart.
    Much love,

  4. Good morning Jay,
    Thank you for your simple faith and honesty about you. This is Elaine Mark’s sister, Mark let me know that I could check out your site to get more info. about what you are going through, but hat’s a big “row to hoe”, as my farmer friend says when you are given a truck load of seed after emptying your last bag at the end of your day or something comes at you sideways and you turn your head this way and that, but no matter what it does not make sense. That is not right on this side of heaven, but then nothing makes sense this side of life. I don’t know you that well but did want to simply say that it has been a delight to see the bird center through my brother’s eyes and the love that you have shared. Your belief for Mark to be a Dad held him up in moments that were changing his life is a great blessing. In pictures and blogs I saw a family growing up. I met you a time or two, and remember how you came into Mark’s life, that was a changing time… I can’t say thank you like I know you, I don’t know, just thank you. You are right to say just be there is the best you can do for Debbie for all around you. Time with those you love cannot be taken back, words of love need to be shared. That uniqueness and genuineness each of us have, is supposed be a wonderful process of love and acceptance of who we are, and sometimes we aren’t given that and don’t want to be… don’t want to feel pain anything and only see pain and are given pain from those who raise us so that the death in life then come to embrace a lie that no one cares… I felt the same after years of numbing out raging, hating, avoiding life avoiding me, and I am learning to be a part of my family and I still feel I don’t belong. I haven’t taken time to heal, and plow through special events, over work myself at work, over think what I say and then blow it over and over, I get to the point even I am disgusted with myself and want to stop trying. Then my friend says, nothing in my life is my business, not my kids not my job family who I love, nothing, and she’s been telling me this for 8 years now as my Sponsor, ” you are right where you are supposed to be, what you are going through is not by chance, you are accepted for who you are and loved completely”. You can feel anything you want just don’t act on the negative ones. You don’t have to go through this alone, just ask for help. I heard her say it simply, directly to me, and it took three years before I started to believe it for myself. So to hear it in your story is wonderful. If nothing is my business what do I control…, my own thoughts and actions, I clean my side of the street, if I am mad at “you” I have a problem with me. I do not have total power over “your” decisions, or choices, and circumstances outside of my control, don’t get me wrong I am not a door mat either I am not swayed by fancy fluff. Love is letting “them”, or it go, the hurt, go to the one that holds the universe and still wants me to know I am loved, holds me when I cry, wipes away my tears, and sees me how I am and forgives me, you may not call Him God, you don’t have to. There is freedom in that. A life well cared for and well lived has nothing to avoid or fear, sees hugs in trees, shapes dreams with a smile and embraces freedom of self, completes friends sentences and never gives up hope, never avoids correction but does it so that it becomes your idea and that’s obviously the right choice, never lets your hand go when the way gets rough, shares the first thought the biggest cookie the last word the smallest softest whisper and willing to read one more once upon a time and pretends the best fun, wipes away stains on wounded feathers, and shares the lamest jokes the kind that makes your legs water and remains in your life, a constant thread, never is the ending when with a friend, constant echoes reach back the deepest hallelujah”s of memories the dearest kind. wow that last few sentences was for you, Mark and Elizabeth, from what I’ve heard from Mark or Elizabeth or just passed on to you my thoughts of friendship when my best friend died in 1994. My father, who raised me, is how I viewed God, angry mean, critical and dismissive, until this last Christmas with my family, until my Dad says I am sorry for the way I treated you and all my kids, I didn’t realize how long I held on to my old ideas of bitterness and didn’t let in the love of anyone. I see now the effect of that; and to still be willing to try, that’s all I can do. There is no mistake to being yourself. bless you .
    From Elaine,
    Joke for the day, how do you get down off an elephant……….
    You don’t you get down off of a duck….bah dum dum…..

  5. Dear Jay,

    You may not know it, but you are a personal hero on mine. Not because we have always agreed about everything, but because you have fought the good fight (for rehab, for IBRRC and for other things) and have always stuck up for what you feel is right. Will be thinking good thoughts, and yes praying a bit, and keeping tabs on you via your blog. Your friend. Dave Jessup

  6. Dear Jay,
    Our mutual friend, Dyan deNapoli, filled me in on what’s been happening to you. Am inspired by your blog, your energy and positive attitude are evident throughout this ordeal. Wanted you to know I’ve always admired and been impressed by you. You and several of your IBBRC staff certainly helped me and ‘my’ volunteers at Native Animal Rescue with oil spill response issues. And, agree with everything Dave Jessup wrote (Hi Dave!) especially about you being a personal hero…of mine, too! As I said to you years ago at a meeting down in Monterey, you impressed me when you ignored politics and stood up to local, state and federal entities with regard to caring for wildlife ~ always doing what you felt was in the best interest of the animals. Your dedication, compassion, drive, tenacity and astonishing ability to multi-task while under great pressure are truly admirable traits! Am keeping you in my prayers and sending you gentle hugs from soggy Seattle. Lori Moak-Kean

  7. Hi Jay: I have been reading this blog for the past hour or so. When you first posted, I joined but somewhere along the way, I was no longer receiving updates. That is why I contacted Mark to see how you were. I so enjoy reading all about what has been happening to you. You have certainly been brave. I often think about you and the times we spent. Can’t believe how long it has been. I guess I was just about the first volunteer at IBRRC. Now I just turned 74. I can’t really believe it. It is very different here in Arkansas but I know there is a reason for me to be here. There are so many lovely birds in my yard and I have rehabbed a few via a local vet. I have enjoyed the ones I had never been allowed at L to work with. The last was a Yellow-Shafted Flicker. What wonderful birds to work with. No wonder no one wanted to share them. This is a small town. We have 1 and 3/4 acres and it is mature woods. We have left the back about 3/4 acre natural and never go down there. Trees are hickory, oak (called post oak) and many other natives that I haven’t identified yet and others I have planted via Arbor Day offerings. I planted red and silver maples in front and there are a couple of pines. Red cedars are common. Of course most refer to all of the lovely natives as “weeds”. We do have yard mowed but it is mostly natural. I am glad you are having in-home hospice care as you will feel a lot better. Love you much and will write again, soon. Still need to catch up on a few of your postings to bring me uptodate.Take care and I will pray for you to have much energy and comfort. Love, Joan

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