Free Flight Staff
Executive Director/ Manager
Mary has been with Free Flight for almost 20 years. After purchasing a young Goffins Cockatoo in 1986 from a local pet store in Encinitas, California, it became apparent that she needed some help in learning how to handle this shy wild-caught bird. Her good friend, Carmen, told her about this cool place in Del Mar where there was a yard full of parrots that one could play with and people who knew about birds. Mary began volunteering for several months and then accepted a part time position as her son and daughter were still in school. She has been managing Free Flight the last 15 years.
Mary is a graduate of California Western University where she earned her Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She has a lifelong interest in birds starting with the Roller Canaries her grandmother raised in her home in San Francisco. Among many other species of animals Mary has kept Budgies, Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Grey Cheeked Parakeets, Goffins Cockatoos, Eclectus Parrots and a Sun Conure. Along the way, through independent study, she has become somewhat of an authority on parrot behavior and husbandry. Understanding the human-bird connection is of special interest to her and it is her desire to pass this knowledge along to others.
She is also an accomplished bluewater sailor.
Assistant Manager/Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator
Sarah began visiting Free Flight as a young child, and has loved it ever since! She began volunteering while in high school, and has now worked at Free Flight for over 6 years. Through growing up with parrots at home, and constantly being intrigued by their unique behavior, she has developed an interest in avian cognition and behavioral science. She will be graduating from University of California, San Diego in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Cognitive Science. She has a strong desire to educate the public about the proper husbandry of birds, in particular children. She is active in the Del Mar community and makes frequent outreach trips to schools, senior centers and local community events. Free Flight is a way for her to inspire others to get involved with birds, and help them see the unique human-bird bond.
She has a Greenwinged Macaw, Kailani, who loves to show off his special trick behaviors. In her spare time she enjoys playing tennis, jogging and horseback riding.
Aubrey came to work at Free Flight in 2006, after working at a retail bird pet store in their nursery, hand-feeding the baby birds. Although a lifelong animal lover, her interest in birds was sparked when she found a wounded crow in a street and took it home to rehabilitate. Although the bird was wild, he was neither aggressive or afraid, and after a few weeks of TLC, flew away under his own power. From that chance encounter, an interest in all things avian emerged. Aubrey is currently a student at CSU San Marcos studying communications and enjoys spending time with her family, which along with the human members includes four cats, a dog, and a horse.
Nathalie came to Free Flight after visiting many different bird stores in search of advice for giving her budgies exactly what they needed. At some point she had fallen for a female Eclectus and was looking to rescue one from Free Flight. A young male Eclectus saw her first, stepped up to her hand, looked long and deep into her eye with his own big round thoughtful one, laid his beak against her nose and went to sleep. Nathalie has been here ever since, first as a volunteer and then a very happy member of the staff. She is delighted when she learns anything new about birds or sees that look of wonder on a visitor's face.
The Eclectus is now named Fred. He chooses to visit Free Flight when Nathalie works, unless he feels that the budgies at home need supervision.
Theresa came to Free Flight in 2011 to volunteer her time with the birds and later joined our team bringing with her 20+ years of executive administration, program, contract, relationship and proposal management experience. Companies she has worked with include Diebold, SAIC, Xerox, Avnet, Stanford Hospital and Google. Theresa's formal education includes marketing, global program management, global government proposal management, fashion and interior design, leadership and psychology. As a parrot enthusiast and former owner of a private parrot rescue and rehabilitation venture, Theresa is putting her experience and passion toward her roles at Free Flight as Grant Writer, Avian Specialist and Behavior Consultant. Her greatest joy is working with parrots that have behavioral issues - helping them to live a quality life while they are at the sanctuary and in their forever homes after they get adopted. When she isn't at Free Flight or researching everything parrots, Theresa enjoys spending time with her Meyer's Parrot and rescue cat, Mercedes. She is also a landscape photographer, painter, gardener and, fiction and non-fiction writer.