Like all good hero stories, the journey of Dave Weeshoff from mainframe computers to bird champion began with a single step. His passion for birds began in late 2004, shortly after his retirement from IBM, when he read an article in the Los Angeles Times about an oil spill, and the team of responders who were rehabilitating oiled birds. “I knew nothing about birds,” Dave says with a laugh. “Couldn’t have told you how many wings they have.” But the article piqued his interest, and he took that first step of contacting International Bird Rescue.
From there, four hours volunteering each week became a full day. One full day became two full days. And before long, Dave was leading the volunteer orientations for new volunteers, and representing Bird Rescue at public events. Step by step he became more immersed, more active with Bird Rescue, and more passionate about wild birds. Serving on the Board of Directors, and as chair of the board for three years, Dave has helped shape Bird Rescue into the organization it is today.
“After you’ve held a pelican, and felt its heartbeat, you can’t help but care about wild birds. And when you care about wild birds, you care about where they live.” This mindset has led Dave to broad community engagement on habitat preservation, clean water, land use issues, ocean pollution, and other issues related to water birds.
Throughout the years, Dave has been a generous donor to Bird Rescue. Most recently, after a spate of break-ins at our Los Angeles wildlife center, Dave stepped forward to fund needed security improvements. With his support, the center has installed a new wireless network with robust video camera system to help provide protection for the birds Center Manager Kylie Clatterbuck noted, “Dave’s generosity is helping to keep our animals safer and more secure. Our patients are vulnerable, and it is important that we do all we can to protect them. We are so grateful to him for helping us do that.”
Dave’s retirement travels have now taken him around the globe, photographing pelagic birds, and using these photographs in frequent public presentations. In pursuit of the Ivory Gull found only in the high northern arctic waters, he discovered the joy of photographing polar bears, harp seals, walruses, and whales as well.
He uses his photography to inspire care and concern for wild creatures. “I want my photographs to answer the question, Why should I care? I want people to be inspired to take what actions they can to keep the oceans clean and safe for these amazing animals.”
Thank you, Dave, for being one of our many Bird Heroes!