Sunday, July 11, 2010

Latest Issue of ABK – Barbara Heidenrich steps up for Pet Parrot Pointers

If you haven’t picked up the latest issue of Australian Birdkeeper Magazine from your newsagent then you should grab it while it’s there! Barbara Heidenreich has filled in for the Pet Parrot Pointers section of the magazine with an absolute cracker of an article on `Ten Common Training Mistakes’. It’s just such a beautifully put together summary of the things well all tend to do at times and what we need to be mindful of to ensure our training failures don’t become mistakes that break down the relationships we have built with our birds.

I’m hoping that every second or third issue of ABK will feature a guest Pet Parrot Pointers writer so that we can learn from a variety of passionate parrot keepers and trainers. I’m looking forward to this opportunity for sharing and learning with Australia parrot enthusiasts.

Parrots 2010 Convention – The Culmination of a 10-Year Vision

Sometime in 1999 I sat in an office with a group of Parrot Society of Australia committee members and together we put together a plan for the very first `Parrots’ convention. That event was held in 2000 and featured 1 international speaker (Rick Jordan) and a single day program of breeder focused lectures. It was a terrific success and reinforced for those of us who were involved that this was an educational opportunity that we simply had to deliver to parrot enthusiasts in Australia. In 2002 we increased our scope with 2 international speakers (William Horsfield and Lyrae Perry) but stayed conservative with our single day program scheduling. 2004 saw a big leap of faith with a 1.5 day program and it was the first time that we integrated some `breakout’ workshops with a focus on parrot behaviour and raising pet birds. The key speaker for that event was EB Cravens and since then he has maintained a profile here in Australia via his Hookbill Hobbyist column in Australian Birdkeeper Magazine. In 2006 the window of opportunity was finally opened for me to get some serious parrot behaviour and training content added to the program and I was able to bring Barbara Heidenreich to Australia for the first time. The two-day program was a success and the program scope and sequence was a first for an avicultural convention in Australia. Barabara’s lectures were so enthusiastically received that we invited her back for the Parrots 2008 Convention and expanded on the behaviour, training and enrichment scope of the event whilst maintaining international standard breeding lectures. The 2008 Convention also saw the integration of dedicated lectures on the conservation biology of parrots in the wild with Dr. Don Brightsmith presenting both during the day program and also as keynote speaker at the Conservation Dinner.

That brings us to 2010 and an event that truly was the culmination of a vision I had back in 1999 for what I wanted to see delivered to Australian parrot enthusiasts. A full two day program with the best and most progressive information on breeding, conservation biology, behaviour, training and enrichment all delivered by some of the most experienced presenters in their respective fields. From Steve Martin to Dr. Susan Friedman, Dr. Rob Heinsohn to Dr. Jamie Gilardi, Roger Sweeney to Dr. Susan Clubb, Nic Bishop to Dr. David Waugh - absolutely the finest lineup you'll find anywhere. If you missed it then tough – sorry, only way I can put it. These opportunities for learning are rare folks – really rare. When they come up – grab them, embrace them, engage in them. You owe it to the parrots you keep. For those of you who were there – thankyou, thankyou sincerely for making such an investment in your own knowledge and in ensuring that you are providing the best standards of care and behaviour management for your birds.

The Parrots 2010 Guest Speaker Lineup - A diversity of lecture presentations and scope for a two day program that was the best of its kind for an avicultural convention - anywhere in the world

Enrichment Aviary Project – Final Update

Well – I made it. Just. For those of you (there might be one out there – hmmm?) who have followed the enrichment aviary project updates, the goal was to have this completed before the Parrots 2010 Convention. As it turned out, I managed to pull it off with the last of the fittings completed and the birds relocated just 5 days before I left for the Convention.

The lecture on enrichment aviary design and construction at Parrots 2010 was really well received and I was stoked with the positive feedback from the delegates. I have just submitted the first part of a two-part article on the process that will feature in the next two issues of Australian Birdkeeper Magazine. Look for the first instalment in the Aug/Sep issue – out mid August. Now onto new projects!

The Enrichment Aviary Complex - Home to my Amazon Parrots.