DR ROZ Jessop is late for our interview but apologises on arrival. 

"One of the (Cape Barron) geese is breeding in the carpark and we had to put bollards around to protect her. I don't see why she chose there when there are so many other places to choose from," Roz says.

Why, indeed, when the goose could have chosen from the entire Phillip Island Nature Park, which surrounds the world famous penguin parade.

Ensuring the safety of a goose is all in a day's work for Roz, the environment manager at the nature park.

In particular Roz has the task of managing the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

While the island may be famous for its penguin population, which now numbers about 6000 breeding pairs, what is less known is its work in bird rehabilitation.

Each year the hospital treats about 150 little penguins and up to 400 other animals, including southern giant petrels, albatross and short-tailed shearwaters, as well as the odd possum and koala.
Aside from injured, heat-stressed and starving birds, by far the largest number of patients has been birds damaged in oil spills.

Since the centre opened in 1990, Roz says the largest number of oiled birds treated was more than 430 in 2001-02, when oil washed up on the island's ocean beaches after being dumped from an unknown ship in Bass Strait.

"In 1990 there was an oil spill off Apollo Bay and 112 penguins were sent here. At that time we only had a shed and a pen but the spill made us realise we needed a bigger facility," she says.
"We now have a much bigger facility with temperature-controlled pens, fox and raptor-proof pens and a large swimming pool - if they can swim around in that for three hours happily then it means they're healthy."

Birds stay from seven days to a month and are cared for by three staff.

"Most of them are good patients. Penguins all have their own personalities but as they get older they tend to get more angry," Roz says.

"They have a hook on the end of their beaks which helps them grab fish, but if they grab you and twist you can't pull away, you have to prize their beaks apart.

"I do have a few scars ... they look cute from afar but you do have to be cautious."
She says gannets have a mean streak, and often aim for the face of staff members, while pelicans are generally fairly well-behaved.

Roz says "the " " " number one skill is to have is patience" and remain detached.
"You can't get overly fond, you have to be realistic.

"When I first started I found it more difficult but now I just focus on the fact we are just preparing them to be released back into the wild."