Kiara Simonis

Kiara joined the Bird Boarding team in August 2009. She has a cockatiel of her own named Tinkerbell, who has stayed a Bird Boarding on many occasions. Putting her client days before her, Kiara started working at Bird Boarding as a work experience study for a week. During this time, she hoped to broader her knowledge of companion parrots and aviculture in Australia. Kiara and Bird Boarding both enjoyed the experience and she was asked to come back as a staff member. 

Working closely with Nikki has helped to reinforce her dream of becoming an avian veterinarian. Kiara has taken on the required mathematics and science subjects at school so that she has the best chance to go on to university and study in the highly completive areas of veterinary science. Kiara's role at Bird Boarding involves feeding the birds, cleaning cages, preparing fruit and vegetables, and keeping the boarder active and engaged by exercising them.


Jess Dodd - Caretaker

Jess started with Bird Boarding 5 years ago with volunteering on a weekly basis, helping with enriching the stay for our boarders. 5 years later, she is now part of the Bird Boarding team as our full time caretaker, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all the boarders. 

Her background is human oncology nursing with a very keen interest in bird health, husbandry and behaviour. With 6 parrots of her own, and her little pup Pip, she is always enjoying the ongoing experiences at Bird Boarding along side Nikki. 

Jess is also heavily involved with Bird Re-Homing Services Inc. that Bird Boarding proudly supports with accomodating displaced birds. 

Nikki Arkinstall - Proprietor

Nicole Arkinstall (or Nikki) has been veterinary nursing for over a decade in a combination of not-for-profit animal shelters and avian specialists practices. Nikki started Bird Boarding in 2004 primarily because of her interest in animal welfare. While gaining her extensive experience, she has witnessed birds becoming stressed, ill and even dying as a result of inappropriate care given in the absence of their usual caregivers.

In addition to managing Bird Boarding, Nikki currently conducts bird care programme appointments from West Brunswick Veterinary Clinic and manages Cat Boarding Melbourne, our offsite sister business. Her special interests with the industry lie in the broad area of husbandry; more specially captive nutrition and pro-active health care. Nikki has a growing collection of aviary and companion parrots, including BeBe and Dolly, the rarely seen in captivity Blue Bonnet parrots  - our shop front residents. 



Kim Buckanank

Kim was introduced to Bird Boarding during her vet placement. She is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at the University of Melbourne. After completing her placement she was asked to return back as a part time employee. 

Kim is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She has many animal interests including birds. Although she loves the Canadian waterfowl, she is very interested in the unique Australian bird species, especially the Cockatoo family. Kim could not bring over any of her pets from Canada, but looks forward to being involved with animals here as much as she can. 

Her duties at Bird Boarding include ensuring the borders are well looked after, maintaining a clean are, preparing fruits sticks, providing foraging toys and helping to enrich the boarder's experience. Kim looks forward to gaining invaluable experience from working alongside Nikki and the other employees at Bird Boarding.