An avian veterinarian is a veterinarian who has an interest in birds and who has taken the time to get some advanced training on their care. They seek out continuing education to stay on the newest information available in the field. They have experience with birds and knowledge about their care.
The easiest way to recognize an avian veterinarian is via certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. These veterinarians have passed an examination and have documentation of significant avian veterinary experience. There are not a large number of these veterinarians available and most are near major cities in the United States.
Non-certified veterinarians with avian experience do exist. These veterinarians are usually members of the Association of Avian Veterinarians and take care to receive yearly continuing education on the care and medicine of pet birds. They have a broad knowledge of pet birds and their medical treatment and needs.
Discuss with your bird-owning friends who they use for veterinary care. You can also consult local pet stores, or find out where clinics that do not see birds refer them. Make an appointment to meet the veterinarian prior to an emergency situation. Make sure you and your veterinarian agree on the approach that you would like to see used with your bird and make sure that they are open to new ideas. Try to avoid seeing veterinarians who only see one or two birds a year as they may not be up on the latest veterinary care.
For those of you in Northern California, we are extremely fortunate to have a ABVP Vet in our area: Dr. Brian Speer. He is located in Oakley, California and his phone number is 925-25-1878.