It is very common that sound engineers do not have academic credentials
- in fact, in my experience, the best and most experienced engineers do
not have academic credentials.
One way to gage a sound engineer is to look at their list of credits,
or resume. Perhaps a reference or 2 would be a good idea - in fact, I
think word of mouth via people whose work you know and respect is a
good way to find someone - and then use your own judgment. If the
person sounds like a [bad] used car salesman, you know you just want to
turn around...Most of the time I can tell a good engineer before even
hearing their work, because in a conversation they have nothing to
prove...in fact, this is the way I actually gage a sound engineer, and
we could be talking about the weather...
Perhaps it works from Sound Engineer to Sound Engineer this way...but I
think it's like anything else, if a person can describe what they do in
"English" and not jargon, it's usually a sign that they:
1. know what they're doing
2. are not trying to confuse you into submission
I am in Toronto, and would be interested in transferring the bird songs
[depending on your timeframe]. My resume can be found here:
I also can recommend some top notch engineers in Montreal, if Toronto
is too far. I think your caution in choosing someone is warranted,
though it's unlikely an engineer would destroy the originals. It's more
that the transfer and editing could be somewhat cavalier...
E-mail me off list, if you would like to speak further.