Meet the Melbourne Bird Vet team

If you are looking for an avian veterinarian near you, we can help. Established in 2000, the Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic moved into it’s new purpose built clinic in 2009. The clinic is one of only two bird-only veterinary clinics in Australia and is the only bird-only veterinary clinic in Victoria.

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Dr Matt Gosbell
CO-OWNER - BVSc, MANZCVS (Avian Medicine and Surgery)

Matt has had a lifelong passion for ‘all creatures great and small’. After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1994 he had a stint in dairy practice in Gippsland and then headed off to work in James Herriot-style mixed practices in the north of Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

Versatile, resourceful and loving surgery, coming back to Melbourne Matt started working at Monash Vet, a small animal practice doing cutting edge work with reproductive technologies. He then moved over to Springvale Animal Hospital, now part of the Greencross network, where avian veterinarians Drs David Madill and Doug Black had done excellent pioneering work on the veterinary care of birds. Taking over their avian caseload, Matt earned his Membership in the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (ANZCVS) in Bird Medicine and Surgery in 2007 and went on to serve as Veterinary Director at Springvale for 17 years. He took over Dr Madill’s responsibilities teaching the Cage and Aviary Bird Medicine course to veterinary students at the University of Melbourne and began teaching nurses at Melbourne Polytechnic.

In 2017 Matt hired avian specialist Dr Pat Macwhirter, who had sold her long standing avian/small animal clinic in Burwood. While continuing his duties at Veterinary Director at Springvale, he commenced a training program through the ANZCVS working internationally and under Dr Pat’s supervision to achieve official specialist recognition in Bird Medicine and Surgery. He expects to complete this in 2021. Out of left field, early in 2019, Dr Colin Walker offered to sell Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic to Matt and Pat. After considerable soul searching they accepted, moving over to the Scoresby Clinic in September 2019.

Matt has presented and written many excellent articles, seminars and webinars on Avian Medicine and surgery, as well as teaching and writing courses in Avian Medicine from basic to post graduate level. He is a keen cyclist and has two energetic young sons, Seth and Nathan.

You know your bird will be in good hands with Dr Pat as she has worked and studied both in Australia and overseas and has been a trail blazer in Bird Medicine, being, in 1993, the first person in Victoria to gain Veterinary Board recognition as a Specialist in Avian Medicine. She descends from early American pioneers but her family moved far west, all the way to Sydney, Australia when she was twelve and she went on to graduate, with honours, as a vet from Sydney University and, afterwards, went back to the USA to complete an internship and fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.

Returning to Australia in 1980, she opened Burwood Bird and Animal Hospital and owned or co-owned that clinic until 2015, when it was sold, and she enjoyed a brief year’s retirement before starting work with fellow avian vet Dr Matt Gosbell at Greencross Vets, Springvale. She has always had an interest in birds, bird watching and bird medicine and surgery and, over the years, has kept and bred budgies, Major Mitchell Cockatoos and galahs, peacocks and Quaker parrots. She has authored or co-authored numerous scientific papers, books and conference proceedings and has been an invited speaker at veterinary and other conferences in Asia, Central America, North America, Europe and Australia. She and Dr Matt are both excited about owning and working in a clinic treating birds exclusively and the opportunities this presents for helping bird owners and doing cutting edge work in the field.

Pat is passionate about getting people connected with nature and trying to stem our current global wave of species extinctions. She owns Harewood, a remarkable 150 year old heritage-listed property on Western Port and currently serves as President of the Healesville to Phillip Island Nature Link (see ). She has grown up children and two gorgeous little granddaughters, Heidi and Claudia.

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Dr Pat Macwhirter
CO-OWNER - BVSc (Hons), MA, PhD, FANZCVS (Avian Medicine and Surgery)

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Dr Madeleine Rowe DVM

After working with predominantly dogs and cats in a busy country veterinary clinic for 14 months, an unmissable opportunity arose to work as an avian veterinarian at Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic. Maddie was fortunate to work with Dr Colin Walker for six months before the clinic was acquired by the legendary Dr Pat Macwhirter and Dr Matthew Gosbell (another great stroke of luck!).
Maddie developed a strong interest in avian health while at university after being lectured by none other than Dr Matthew Gossbell, and in 2016 received the national UPAV (Unusual Pet and Avian Veterinarians) student scholarship for her endeavours in exotic animal medicine. Not surprisingly, her favourite part of the job is the variety of birds she treats on a daily basis (although she has a particularly soft spot for budgies, being the proud owner of two little characters herself, Jasper and Benji).
Outside of work, Maddie loves the great outdoors and is passionate about its conservation. She is a published researcher on the treatment of sarcoptic mange in wildlife and continues to work as a cat and dog veterinarian in Echuca on a fortnightly basis.
Maddie is excited to be part of the team that grows Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic and looks forward to meeting you and your feathered companions!

Amber grew up on the Mornington Peninsula raising and breeding cockatiels from an early age and realised that working with birds was her passion. She studied veterinary medicine at the University of Melbourne and took every chance as a student to work with avian veterinarians and learn all she could about avian health. After graduation in 2010, Amber began working at a small animal practice on the Mornington Peninsula. In 2011, she was awarded a foreign veterinarian scholarship to attend the worldwide Association of Avian Veterinarians conference in Seattle, USA. Then in 2012, Amber made the huge move to the USA where she undertook a one-year rotating small animal internship at Veterinary Clinics of America Advanced Veterinary Care Centre in Indianapolis. Amber then stayed in the area to complete a residency in Avian Practice at the Avian & Exotic Animal Clinic of Indianapolis under the supervision of the esteemed Dr Angela Lennox.

After completion of her residency in 2015, Amber moved to Boston to work at VCA South Shore specialty hospital. Whilst there, she worked with emergency veterinarians and mentored veterinary interns in avian and exotic animal medicine. In 2017, Amber passed her Avian Practice specialty examinations through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). This was a culmination of many years hard work and study so that she can provide a higher standard of care for her patients. There are approximately 125 other specialists in Avian Practice throughout the world.

Amber is an active member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) and as of 2020 she is co-chair of the AAV’s social media committee. She is comfortable treating all manner of species, but her particular interests are in avian reproduction, anaesthesia, pain management and surgery. She has published several articles and textbook chapters for the education both veterinarians and pet owners. At the end of 2020, Amber and her partner made the huge move back home to Victoria to be closer to friends and family. She is looking forward to working in Melbourne again and meeting you and your feather-kids!

Amber Lee Head shot (1)

Dr Amber Lee DVM, Dip ABVP (Avian Practice)

Dr Colin Walker

Dr Colin Walker BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS

Dr Colin Walker, who founded Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic, is an internationally recognised authority on racing and exhibition pigeons and has been a prolific author in the field. He retired in 2019 when he sold MBVC to Drs Matt Gosbell and Pat Macwhirter but continues to race pigeons and keep a wide variety of birds in his retirement. Colin still owns The Australian Pigeon Company and enjoys collaborating with the avian veterinarians at MBVC on challenging cases.

Veterinary Nurses

Tawny has been a nurse at Melbourne Bird Veterinary Clinic since 2015, before this she had been studying/working in small animal practices for about 6 years. Tawny has always had a love for animals, but discovered her passion for birds when she adopted an Eclectus Parrot named ‘Ringo’ through a previous workplace. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with the personality and intelligence of Ringo and ever since then, she has been very interested in learning all she can about the health and wellbeing of pet birds. Tawny really enjoys meeting the various different birds that come into the clinic, and chatting with like-minded bird owners.

Tawny currently lives with her partner Andrew, her two rescue dogs Indi and Boris and her Yellow-Crowned Amazon Parrot named Kip. When not in the clinic, Tawny also works at a pet supplies store. On her rare days off, you can find her spending as much time with her family and pets as possible.

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Tawny Smith
Cert IV Veterinary Nurse

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Tracey Hamilton
Cert IV Veterinary Nurse

Tracey is a lifelong animal lover who after 20+ years of working in IT finally made the long awaited career change in 2017. Starting off at the RSPCA studying Cert 2 in Animal Studies, as well as volunteering at the Burwood RSPCA she found that she really enjoyed caring for the birds and exotics the most. Having had many animals of her own over the years, Tracey is now a Cert IV qualified Vet Nurse and loves helping treat all types of animals with a rapidly developing passion for wildlife and exotics! She enjoys studying behaviour in all types of animals and enjoys talking to Bird parents about their feathered babies’ quirks.
When Tracey was offered the position at Melbourne Bird Vet it was like a dream come true and she loves coming in to work and learning as much as she can about nursing our feathered friends!

Tracey’s family currently consists of Daisy the Jack Russell cross, Toby the chocolate lab, Dory the fluffy cat, Larry the elderly Tonkinese and Trillian the rescue Pearly Conure as well as a husband, 2 children and 2 grandsons! In her spare time she knits, plays video games, trains her Labrador pup and spends as much time as possible with her grandsons.

Brooke has always had a passion for animal welfare with a special interest in exotics. She started volunteering at multiple animal shelters in high school and her love for animals only grew more from there.

She has completed her Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience and is currently completing her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. When she was offered the opportunity to work at the Melbourne Bird Clinic, she was so excited to be able to learn and put her theory work into practice.

At home Brooke lives with her partner Matthew, their cavoodle (Luna), rabbit (Benjamin) and of course their cockatiel (Bam Bam). In her spare time, you will find her spending time with family and friends, out hiking or doing home renovations.

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Brooke Denison
Trainee Veterinary Nurse

Alex Bakewell
Veterinary Nurse

Alex has always had a passion for caring for animals. Originally from Perth, Alex grew up surrounded by animals and volunteered at a wildlife shelter for years while studying. It was here that she fell in love with native wildlife, in particular, birds. Over the years, she helped rehabilitate a variety of species from tiny honey-eaters, to ravens, cockatoos and everything in between.

Since moving to Melbourne in 2016, Alex continued working in pet retail and pet minding. When offered a position at Melbourne Bird Vet she was absolutely over the moon at the opportunity to gain experience in an exceptional, exclusively avian veterinary clinic while completing her Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing

Alex lives with her partner, Brodie and their furry family consisting of their Australian Shepherd (Drake), two cats (Anakin and Los) and fish. When she isn’t at MBVC you will probably find her camping or hiking through the wilderness with her partner and their dog.