The fourth annual Parrots International Symposium 2008

Celebrating - "Parrots of the Caribbean"

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Our 2008 Speakers List Includes

In alphabetical order:

Dr. Steve Beissinger, PhD.

Professional Address:
A. Starker Leopold Chair of Wildlife Biology and Professor of Conservation Biology University of California at Berkeley
29 Mulford Hall Berkeley, California 94720  

Academic Degrees
Professor Beissinger earned a B.S. (1974) and M.S. (1978) in zoology at Miami University, and a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Ecology at the University of Michigan (1984). Dr. Beissinger joined the faculty at Berkeley in 1996 after spending eight years as a professor at Yale University and two years as an NSF Postdoctoral fellow in Environmental Biology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park in Washington D.C.

Current activities
Steven R. Beissinger holds the A. Starker Leopold Chair in Wildlife Biology at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management.  He served as Department Chair from 2001-04. Dr. Beissinger teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in conservation biology, and behavioral and population ecology.

Professor Beissinger's research has been conducted primarily with birds but has included work with plants, mammals, aquatic invertebrates, and herps. Steve's current work focuses on (1) ecology of endangered or exploited species; (2) demographic models of population viability and recovery, and (3) parental care strategies and mating systems.  He has worked throughout the U.S. and internationally (Venezuela, Guyana, Puerto Rico, and Cuba). For the past two decades Steve and his students have studied on the behavior, demography, and population dynamics of Green-rumped Parrotlets in Venezuela. His research has resulted in over 130 articles in scientific journals, books, and technical reports. He is senior editor of the books Population Viability Analysis (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and New World Parrots in Crisis: Solutions from Conservation Biology (Smithsonian Press, 1992).

Beissinger is a Fellow of the London Zoological Society and the American Ornithologists' Union, where he chaired the conservation committee and was elected as a councilor. He served on the Marbled Murrelet Recovery Team, U.S. National Committee to IUBS, and the U.S. National Committee of Diversitas. He serves on the editorial boards of Conservation Biology, Ecology Letters, and Ecology, and the Board of Directors of the National Audubon Society.  He is a research associate of the Smithsonian Institution and University of California's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

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Dr. Don Brightsmith, Ph.D., Peru

Professional Address:
Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, Mail Stop 4467, College Station, TX 77843-4467

Professional Experience

  • Lecturer in Avian Conservation, Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, 2006 to present
  • Consultant, Indonesian Parrot Project, 2005 to present
  • Research Director and Macaw Project Director, Rainforest Expeditions, Peru, 1999 to present
  • Research Associate, Department of Biology, Duke University, 1999 – 2006
  • Instructor Organization for Tropical Studies undergraduate summer program 1999 – 2002


  • 1999 — Ph.D. in Zoology, Duke University.
  • 1993 — MS in Wildlife Ecology, University of Arizona.
  • 1990 — BS in Natural Resources with honors and distinction, Cornell University.
  • 1989 — Oxford University, England, visiting student in Zoology.

Research Interests

  • Ecology, conservation, and diseases of psittacines
  • Geophagy: The behavior, physiology and consequences soil consumption
  • Area requirements and landscape level movements of Amazonian wildlife
  • Avian natural history evolution

Professional Publications

  • Tobias, J. A. and D. J. Brightsmith. In press. September 2006. Re-evaluating the conservation status of the Blue-headed Macaw Primolius couloni: Red List recommendations. Oecologia.
  • Matuzak, G. and D. J. Brightsmith. In press. Yellow-naped Parrot roost counts in Costa Rica: estimating the size and reproduction of threatened populations. Journal of Field Ornithology.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. and A. Bravo. 2006. Ecology and management of nesting Blue-and-yellow Macaws (Ara ararauna) in Mauritia palm swamps. Biodiversity and Conservation. 15:4271-4287.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. 2005. Parrot nesting in southeastern Peru: seasonal patterns and keystone trees. Wilson Bulletin 117: 296-305.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. 2005. Competition, predation and nest niche shifts among tropical cavity nesters: phylogeny and natural history evolution of parrots (Psittaciformes) and trogons (Trogoniformes).  Journal of Avian Biology. 36: 64-73.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. 2005. Competition, predation and nest niche shifts among cavity-nesting parrots and trogons: ecological evidence. Journal of Avian Biology. 36: 74-83.
  • Brightsmith, D. J., J. Hillburn, A. del Campo, J. Boyd, M. Friesius, R. Friesius, Janik, D. and Guillen, F. 2005. The use of hand-raised psittacines in reintroduction projects: a case study of Scarlet Macaws in Peru and Costa Rica. Biological Conservation. 121:465-472.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. and R. Aramburú. 2004. Avian geophagy in se Peru: the roles of toxin neutralization and mineral supplementation in soil choice. Biotropica 36: 534-543.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. 2004. Effects of weather on avian geophagy in Tambopata, Peru.  Wilson Bulletin, 116: 134-145.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. 2004. Nest sites of termitarium nesting birds in se Peru. Neotropical Ornithology. 15:319-330.
  • Brightsmith, D. J.  2000. Use of arboreal termite mounds by nesting birds in the Peruvian Amazon. Condor 102: 529-538.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. 1999. Los roles de la competencia y depredación en los nichos deifferentes de anidación: evidencia de los nidos termiteros de loros y trogones. Anales de la III Jornada Nacional de Ornotología Calca. Agosto 1999, Cuzco, Peru. 62-63.
  • Brightsmith, D. J.  1999.  Book review: Handbook of the birds of the world. The Auk 116:1159-1160.
  • Brightsmith, D. J.  1999.  Book review: Parrots a guide to parrots of the world. The Auk 116: 868-870.
  • Brightsmith, D. J.  1999.  The roles of predation and competition in nest niche differentiation: evidence from termitarium nesting parrots and trogons. Ph.D. dissertation. Duke University, Department of Zoology, Durham NC.
  • Brightsmith, D. J. 1999. White-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris versicolurus) and Yellow-chevroned Parakeet (Brotogeris chiriri). In Birds of North America, No. 386-387 (a. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
  • Miller, B., R. Reading, J. Strittholt, C. Carroll, R. Noss, M. Soulé, O. Sánchez, J. Terborgh, D. Brightsmith, T. Cheeseman, and D. Foreman.  1998.  Using Focal Species in the Design of Nature Reserve Networks. Wild Earth 8(4):81-92.
  • Cortner, H. J., M. N. Jensen, and D. J. Bright-Smith. 1995. Evaluating Forest Policies in the United States: Components of the Process and a Case Example. In Solberg, B. and P. Pelli (eds.) Forest Policy Analysis--Methodological and Empirical Aspects. EFI Proceedings 2:5-20.
  • *Bright-Smith, D. J. and R. W. Mannan. 1994. Habitat characteristics of male northern goshawks on the Kaibab Plateau. Studies in Avian Biology 16:58-65.
  • *Bright-Smith, D. J. 1994. Habitat use by breeding male northern goshawks in northern Arizona. MS Thesis, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
  • *Smith, D. J. and C.R. Smith. 1992. Henslow's sparrow and grasshopper sparrow: a comparison of habitat use on Finger Lakes National Forest, New York. Bird Observer 20:187-194.
  • *Smith, D. J. 1991. Winter Bird Population Studies: 5. Isolated Beech-maple Woods. J. Field Ornithology 62(1 supp.):10.

*Note name changes. 

Teaching Experience

  • July 04 — Research Experience for Faculty, Mentor and Facilitator, Organization for Tropical Studies
  • June 99-02 — Tropical Ecology, Instructor, Duke University and the Organization for Tropical Studies, Undergraduate Program
  • Nov 02-04 — Introduction to Biology for Future Guides from the Native Community of Infierno, Instructor, (in Spanish)
  • Feb 00-05 — Rainforest Expeditions Guide and Investigator Course, Ecology Instructor, (in Spanish)
  • Aug 00 — Biodiversity, Graduate Course Instructor, Organization for Tropical Studies           
  • Jan 99 — Tropical Ecology, Teaching Assistant, Duke University
  • Oct 98 + 94 — Introductory Ecology, Teaching Assistant, Duke University
  • Jan 98 + 97 — Animal Physiology, Teaching Assistant, Duke University
  • Jan 95 + 96 — Introductory Biology, Teaching Assistant, Duke University
  • Jan 90 — Bird Biology and Conservation, Teaching Assistant, Cornell University

Professional service

  • 2005-present — Scientific Advisory Board Member, Parrots International, a US based NGO dedicated to the conservation of parrots in the wild
  • 2005-present — Scientific Advisor, Large Macaw Reintroduction and Conservation Project in Iguaçu, Brazil
  • 2005-present — Member Lear’s Macaw Conservation Advisory Group, Brazil
  • 2005 — VI Peruvian National Ornithological Congress, Scientific Committee Member
  • 2005 — 1st Mesoamerican Parrot Symposium, Organizing Committee Member
  • 03–06 — Academic Committees:
    • Guiselle Monge (Ph. D degree), Universidad Nacional, San José, Costa Rica
    • Alan Lee (MSc degree), Manchester Metropolitan University
    • Roberto Elias (M. S.), Universidad Peruano Cayetano de Heredia, Lima, Peru
    • Gabriela Vigo (professional thesis), Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Peru
    • Daphne Matsafuji (professional thesis), Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Peru
    • Karina Quinteros (professional thesis), Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Peru
    • Oscar Butron  (professional thesis), Universidad Peruano Cayetano de Heredia, Lima, Peru
  • 03–05 — Scientific Reviewer: National Science Foundation, Condor an International Journal of Ornithology, Neotropical Ornithology, Princeton University Press, South African Science Foundation, and the Journal of Zoology

Grants and Fellowships

  • 10/05 — Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Award
  • 2000-2005 — Center for Field Studies and the EarthWatch Institute
  • 3/05 — South Lakes Wildlife Trust conservation grant
  • 2/01 — Conservation, Food and Health Foundation
  • 6/00 — Tambopata Research Society
  • 5/00 — Pukara Magazine
  • 93,98-00,02 — Conservation Research Grant, Raleigh-Durham Caged Bird Society
  • 10/99 — Research Grant, Aviculture Society of Tucson
  • 3/98-3/95The Rotary Club of West Hempstead and L.I. District
  • 5/97, 5/95 — Duke University Graduate School Dissertation travel award
  • 5/97, 5/95 — Duke/UNC Latin American Studies Travel Grant
  • 5/96 - 8/93 — James B. Duke Memorial Fellowship, Duke University Graduate School
  • 8/95 — National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant
  • 5/95 — Explorers Club Exploration Grant
  • 5/95 — Chapman Fund Grant, American Museum of Natural History
  • 4/91, 4/92 — Research Grant: Habitat use by N. Goshawks, USDA Forest Service
  • 4/90 — National Science Foundation Graduate Student Fellowship

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Paul Butler, UK

Professional Address:
1840 Wilson Blvd., Suite 204 Arlington, VA  22201
telephone:  703-522-5070
fax:  703-522-5027

Current activities
Paul is Rare’s Senior Vice President of Global Programs. With more than 30 years of experience in tropical conservation, Paul Butler has developed model programs in conservation education and social marketing and he is the creator and director of Rare’s Diploma in Conservation Education.  A graduate of Northeast London Polytechnic, Butler lived and worked in the Caribbean for more than 25 years. His signature conservation-marketing program, Promoting Protection through Pride, succeeded in bringing back the endangered St. Lucia Parrot and since 1987, Butler has seen “hisxxx program successfully replicated in over 100 sites in 40 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Through this program, Paul has enabled hundreds of partner organizations build their pubic outreach and communications capacity and use innovative, yet simple, social marketing tools to raise awareness of environmental threats and then garner public support for environmental activities.

Through Rare Pride, Paul has facilitated the establishment of nature reserves, wildlife legislation and community-managed protected areas resulting in improved community livelihoods and the rebounding of threatened wildlife populations. Paul has developed multi-project agreements with The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and Wildlife Conservation Society, among others. Paul also currently oversees three Pride training centers and their staff members as they deliver one to two three-month training programs per year in the UK, Indonesia and Mexico. He has received many honors, including the UN Global 500 Award, ASTA/Smithsonian Environment Award, the Caribbean Conservation Association Award, the Chicago Zoological Society’s Presidential Award, and the St. Lucia Medal of Merit.

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Dr. Nigel Collar PhD., UK

Professional Address:
BirdLife International,Wellbrook Court Girton Road,Cambridge CB3 0NA, UK

Academic Degrees

Current Activities
Senior Research Associate, Cambridge University Dept of  Zoology, the Conservation Sciences Group. Nigel Collar has worked with Bird Life International since 1981 and has consulted  in the Bird Life International Red List of endangered parrot species.Throughout his 25 years with BirdLife, he has worked on the documentation and conservation of threatened birds, writing the international Red Data Book, which so far has resulted in three large volumes, for Africa, the Americas and Asia. He has served BirdLife as Director of Science, Director of Development and Deputy Director, and now works as Leventis Fellow in Conservation Biology, a position part-shared with Cambridge University. He currently has PhD students in Cambodia and the Philippines, but his research interests extend to all tropical areas where threatened birds are in need of study. His particular interest in parrots stems from the time 10 years ago when he was asked to contribute the parrot family to the Handbook of the Birds of the World.

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Dr. Susan Friedman PhD., Utah State University

Professional Address:
Department of Psychology at Utah State University

Current Activities
Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D., is currently a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University.  A Behaviorist for more than 30 years, her area of expertise is learning and behavior with a special emphasis on children's behavior disorders. Over the last decade, Susan has helped pioneer efforts to apply to animals the humane philosophy and scientifically sound teaching technology from the field of Applied Behavior Analysis that has been so effective with human learners. The guiding principle of this approach is a hierarchy of teaching interventions starting with the most positive, least intrusive, effective behavior solutions. 

Susan is a steadfast proponent of changing behavior through facilitation rather than force. These tools of facilitation focus on animals' extraordinary biologic capacity to learn by interacting with their environment. She teaches that by changing the environment for success, animals learn to behave successfully. Susan currently teaches Living and Learning with Parrots: The Fundamental Principles of Behavior to online and live workshop students several times a year to caregivers (see and veterinarians and other animal professionals (

Susan is the first author on two recently completed chapters on learning and behavior for two new avian veterinary texts (Harrison and Lightfoot's Clinical Avian Medicine and Luescher's Manual of Parrot Behavior) and a frequent contributor to Good Bird Magazine. Her articles can be found at She has presented at a wide variety of professional conferences including the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, and the American Federation of Aviculturists, as well as many national bird clubs and symposia. This year she was a guest speaker on the topic of learning and behavior for NASA, at the Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Colloquium. Susan is a core member of the California Condor Recovery Team and takes every opportunity to work with companion animal caregivers, veterinarians, animal trainers and zookeepers to empower and enrich the lives of all learners.  Foremost in this interdisciplinary effort is her passion for and commitment to working with companion parrots and their caregivers.

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Bennett Hennessey,  Boliva

Professional Address:
Armonia/ BirdLife International
Lomas de Arena 400
Casilla 3566
Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Current Activities
A. Bennett Hennessey was born in Quebec City, Canada. At the University of Toronto he completed a customized zoology/environmental science degree (before a conservation biology degree existed). He visited Bolivia for a month in the rainforest, and then worked on conservation projects in the Republic of the Congo for a year. In 1995 Bennett decided to live in Bolivia on a long-term basis to continue his bird research and conservation activities. He has been involved in over 25 ornithological expeditions within all the main habitat types in Bolivia: Rainforest, Yungas forest, Grasslands and Dry forest and has completed species specific research of such threatened species as Wattled and Southern-horned Curassow, Blue-throated Macaw, Red-fronted Macaw, Military Macaw, Bolivian Recurvebill, Yungas Antwren, Ash-breasted Tit-Tyrant, Bolivian and Brazilian Swallow-tailed Cotingas and Scimitar-winged Piha. He has archived over 1300 sound recordings at Cornell Bird Lab's Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. Bennett is the first author of the Annotated List of the Birds of Bolivian (2003). He became the executive director of the Bolivian Bird Conservation NGO Armonía/ BirdLife International in 2002 which has grown in three years from 2 conservation projects and 3 employees to 15 Bolivian bird conservation programs with 30 Bolivian employees. He is also the director of BirdLife's South American Threatened Bird program, which supports on-ground conservation actions and trains new conservationists in South America.

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Dr. Jordan Karubian, Ph.D., UCLA California

Professional Address:
Latin American Director
Center for Tropical Research at the UCLA  Institute of the Environment
University of California, Los Angeles

Current Activities
As Latin America Director for the Center for Tropical Research at UCLA, my interests include basic and applied questions in avian ecology, behavior and conservation.

In Ecuador, I have researched how the abundance of macaws varies in relation to habitat quality and season in the Amazon basin. In the Choco rain forests of northwest Ecuador I have monitored a diverse community of parrot species and conducted detailed study of the ecology, social biology and conservation of endangered species like the Long-wattled Umbrella bird, Banded Ground-cuckoo, and Brown Wood rail. These research programs are combined with training, education, and sustainable development initiatives for local residents and young biologists.

For more information on our work in Ecuador, please see our website:

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Susan Koenig, DEFS, Jamaica

Professional Address:
Windsor Research Centre
Sherwood Content P.O.
Trelawny, Jamaica

Academic Degrees:
1989    BA Russian, University of Arizona
1994    MA Psychology, University of Arizona
1999 DFES, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University

Current Activities
Susan is the Director of Research for Windsor Research Centre, an environmental NGO that she and her partner founded in 2002 after she completed her doctoral research studying the breeding biology of Jamaica's two endemic Amazon parrots, the Black-billed Parrot (Amazona agilis) and the Yellow-billed Parrot (A. collaria).  WRC's Mission is directed towards the conservation and sustainable management of Cockpit Country, which is a hotspot within the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot; is Jamaica's highest-ranked Important Bird Area (IBA); and is home to est. 90-95% of the island's Black-billed Parrot population. 

One of Susan's core responsibilities is to ensure that the results of visiting researchers are shared with the local communities, the wider public, natural resource managers, and decision makers.  In addition to improving knowledge about the unique natural heritage of Jamaica, which in turn engenders a shared sense of responsibility for its protection, she strives to ensure environmental advocacy efforts are strengthened with the best available scientific information.  She is one of the primary scientific advisors in efforts to protect Cockpit Country from open-pit bauxite mining.

Prior to moving to the Caribbean, Susan participated in efforts in the early 1990s to re-establish Thick-billed Parrots in her home state of Arizona.  She's worked briefly with the St. Lucia Forestry Department in their monitoring of St. Lucia Parrot nests and spent a field season in Dominica studying the Imperial Parrot and Red-necked Parrot before establishing the Jamaica Parrot Project in 1995, in collaboration with BirdLife Jamaica and Wildlife Preservation Trust International (now Wildlife Trust).  She is a member of the Parrot Working Group of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds.

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Alan Lieberman, California, USA

Professional Address:
Conservation Program Manager
Conservation and Research for Endangered Species (CRES)
Applied Animal Ecology Division
15600 San Pasqual Valley Road
Escondido, CA 92027-7000

I have been in the zoo and conservation discipline for over thirty years; working for the San Diego Zoo, The Nature Conservancy, the Smithsonian Peace Corp Environmental Program and The Peregrine Fund.  I have worked in the bird and reptile departments at the zoo; in Colombia, So. America working with caiman conservation and research in the Amazon rainforest; and for the past 13 years have been responsible for the design, development, construction and operation of the Hawai`i Endangered Bird Conservation Program.  Most recently, in addition to managing the Hawai`i Program, I have assumed the supervision of CRES's San Clemente Island Shrike propagation effort as well as other translocation and propagation release projects managed by CRES.

Abstract and Presentation Title: Translocation of the Kuh's Lory, Vini kuhlii, from Rimatara, Austral Islands to Atiu, Cook Islands.

In April 2007, an international team of biologists joined forces and resources to capture and translocate a total of 27 Kuhl's Lories from Rimatara in the Austral Islands, to Atiu in the Cook Islands.  This translocation, creating a second population, was carried out to safeguard this narrow endemic against future extinction given the risk on Rimatara to the possible introduction of the black rat to Rimatara.  Atiu is one of the few islands remaining in the South Pacific that does not have the black rat and was recorded as supporting a population of this species until about two hundred years ago. The translocation was completely successful with no loss of birds in the process.  Physical exams and PCR analysis of blood and swabs showed no pathogenic organisms. 

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Rosemary Low, UK

Rosemary Low started her birdkeeping activities with Budgerigars. Her first parrot arrived when she was 16, a Grey. Between the ages of 20 and 30 she started to keep neotropical parrots and lories and lorikeets. During nearly eight years in the Canary Islands she was curator of two of the world's largest parrot collections, Loro Parque in Tenerife and Palmitos Park in Gran Canaria. She now lives in the UK with her wonderful lories and lorikeets.

Rosemary Low has published hundreds of articles in magazines in many countries. She has had more than 20 books published on parrots, including Parrots their care and breeding (three editions and three languages), Endangered Parrots, Encyclopedia of the Lories, Why does my Parrot?, Cockatoos in Aviculture and Amazon Parrots: Aviculture, trade and conservation. Her books have been translated into German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch and the Czech language. Her latest book is A Century of Parrots (the history of parrots in the 20th century). 

In 1989 she was a co-founder of The World Parrot Trust and edited its magazine, PsittaScene, from its inception that year until 2004.  Her interest in conservation, fund-raising for conservation projects and in the welfare of captive parrots has long overtaken that of breeding in captivity. She no longer breeds parrots (keeping them solely for pleasure), as she has no wish to add to the numbers in captivity. Through her writings and through a local parrot club that she founded in 2000 she does her utmost to give guidance to people on keeping their parrots happy and healthy.

She has travelled widely, speaking at conventions in many countries and at four of the six Loro Parque Conventions. She has observed over 100 species of parrots in the wild in more than 30 countries. Watching birds in their natural habitat, from the critically endangered Kakapo in New Zealand to tiny Pygmy Parrots in New Guinea, and the world's largest parrot colony in Argentina, is her greatest thrill. Her most satisfying moment: January 12 2007 when the news came that a permanent ban had been placed on the importation of wild-caught birds into EU countries.

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Julie Weiss Murad, Colorado, USAJulie Weiss Murad, Colorado, USA

Julie Weiss Murad, affectionately known as The Birdbrain, has been involved with companion parrots for thirty five years. She is a national avian behavioral consultatnt based in Colorado. She has lectured both nationally and internationally and has written for several avian publications. Ms. Murad employs many ideas of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as taught by Susan Friedman, PhD, founder of Living and Learning with Parrots (LLP) which are based on the use of positive reinforcement. Julie has worked with a number of retailers, breeders, students, aviculturists, manufacturers, companion parrot "owners" and veterinarians to promote an educated awareness of the many needs of companion parrots.

Julie is founder and president of The Gabriel Foundation®, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established in 1996. Headquartered in Colorado, TGF is dedicated to educating the public about the complex needs of psittacine birds through each of its seven programs: Education and Outreach, Adoption, Sanctuary, Rehabilitation, Rescue, Long-term Foster care, and Conservation.the importance of conservation to preserve the parrots in their wild habitats. In 1995, Julie opened The Birdbrain to provide information and product resources to enhance the human/parrot relationship. Always a revenue and support source for TGF, The Birdbrain became fully owned by The Gabriel Foundation in early 2008. All proceeds continue help to support the Foundation's programs.

Julie has been published nationally and internationally. In addition to her many national presentations, she has been a regular presenter at the AAV, AFA and NAVC conferences and  she has internationally Canada, the U.K., and Japan and She is a member of AAV, and a lifetime member of A.F.A. and WPT and Loro Parque Fundation. She is a member of A.S.A., IAATE and professional organizations in the animal sheltering community. She has traveled widely to observe parrots in their natural habitats and learn firsthand the critical importance of in situ conservation programs.

Julie shares her home with many animals including macaws, a variety of macaws and cockatoo species, Amazons, Grey parrots, Eclectus, Great-bills, Poicephalus, lovebirds, cockatiels, and canaries. At Rancho Papagayo, many other animals can be found: Horses, donkeys, llama, sheep, dogs and cats — all rehomed.

Julie's vision and philanthropy for The Gabriel Foundation have been shaped over many years and a variety of experiences. She has dedicated her resources to providing for the longeivity and future of the organization, its programs and its residents.

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Bernadette L. Plair, Ohio, USA

Professional Address:
Research Associate
Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220

Current Activities
Growing up on the small tropical island of Trinidad, I simply took for granted the 630 species of butterflies, 420 species of birds, 108 species of mammals, more than 50 species of reptiles and bats, plus 25 species of amphibians in an area about 1/25 the size of Ohio where I now live. The botanical background to this animal life is a rich tapestry of color: yellow and pink poui, orange flamboyant and red immortelle trees towering above 2,300 species of flowering plants and hundreds of ferns, mosses and liverworts.  Surrounding this grandeur is a blue green ocean teaming with marine life.

Here in Ohio, I am a research scientist at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). Why did I choose this career?  Because as a child I have always been interested in wild life and wild places. In the 1950's I remember seeing flocks of magnificent blue and gold macaws, soaring above the canopy of the Nariva swamp forests on the East Coast of Trinidad. But by the 1960's these beautiful birds disappeared completely from the wild.  Because the soil of the Nariva Swamp is very rich and fertile, the forest was cleared for farmland, limiting the availability of food and nesting sites for the macaws.  Collecting the young birds for the pet trade further reduced numbers, and nest sites were poached for chicks, which usually meant that the nests were destroyed in the process.

In 1993, I established the Centre for the Rescue of Endangered Species of Trinidad & Tobago (CRESTT), a nongovernmental conservation organization that helps to support conservation efforts in Trinidad.  I am fortunate to be on the front line of a collaborative effort involving the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Trinidad & Tobago government, local and international wildlife conservationists, local community people and corporate sponsors to restore the population of blue and gold macaws to its former habitat. Between October 1999 and June 2004, 31 wild-caught blue and gold macaws from Guyana were reintroduced to the protected Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary in the Nariva Swamp. Twenty-six of these survived and over a six-year period they have produced twenty-six chicks. The project has begun to achieve its goal of reestablishing a viable population of blue and gold macaws in their former habitat in Trinidad.

Twice a year, I hold workshops in the villages bordering the Swamp to encourage local people to monitor and protect the birds.  Local teams have been trained to collect data on the flight patterns, feeding and nesting behavior of the birds.  In return they receive stipends provided by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and corporate sponsors. In 2007 the government of Trinidad & Tobago assumed financial responsibility for the monitoring component of the project and integrated it into their wildlife conservation plan.  People in the communities are realizing that it is better to protect the birds than to poach their chicks.  Education is the key to success in wildlife conservation and I involve students from several schools bordering the swamp with exciting hands-on conservation education programs that are both informative and fun. In June 2004, twenty educators from all over the U.S participated in the first 10-day field expedition which I hosted and taught in Trinidad. This program called Earth Expeditions now in its fourth year is a unique collaborative effort between the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and Miami University of Ohio's Project Dragonfly. To date 100 educators have participated in this unique experience which in conjunction with a web-based component allows them to earn seven graduate credit hours from Miami University. A group of Junior Zoologists from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden have also spent seven days on a field course on the island.  Both groups were able to interact with counterparts from Trinidad to exchange information and learn about each other.  I have also led eco-tour groups to Trinidad to experience first hand the beauty of its wildlife and culture and contribute to our conservation efforts. I never dreamt growing up that I would have this chance to make a difference in sharing and preserving the wildlife of my own country. 

At the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden I am also involved in the conservation of other endangered species. I have designed and implemented the first parent/offspring behavioral study on the development of two of the three Sumatran rhinoceros calves born in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo between September 2001 and April 2007. There are only nine of these critically endangered animals in captivity in the world and four of them; one breeding pair and two calves are currently housed at the Cincinnati Zoo. Their first calf was moved to the Los Angeles Zoo in June 2003 and has since been sent back to Indonesia in February 2007 to contribute to the captive breeding program there.  Since the population of the Sumatran rhinoceros in the wild is less than 300 it is critical that we learn all we can about the behavior of the parents and offspring in order to continue to propagate and preserve the species.

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Dr. Paul Salaman, PhD., USA

Professional Address:
Director of International Programs
American Bird Conservancy
P.O. Box 249, 4249 Loudoun Ave.
The Plains, VA 20198

Academic Degrees
PhD at the University of Oxford

Current Activities
Paul Salaman was born in Australia in 1971 where he started birding at the age of six, before moving to the UK from where he became an active birder traveling across the country in search of migrants and rare species.  In 1979, Paul met David Attenborough and enthused by conservation and natural history and from the age of 14 managed a local nature reserve.  At 17, Paul started intensive two year training in banding birds, which he later used extensively in surveys and studies in South America. In 1990, Paul traveled birding through southeast Asia, Australasia and USA for six months, which set the scene for his interest in international ornithology and conservation. As an undergraduate in 1991, Paul commenced a series of expeditions across Colombia, which culminated in eight biodiversity assessment expeditions and over three years field experience. In 1991, he discovered a distinctive new species of bird (Vireo) to science and sold the scientific name as an innovative species sponsoring initiative for seeking conservation funds.  In 1992, Paul established a nature reserve in southwest Colombia.

 In 1995, Paul commenced a PhD at the University of Oxford studying threatened bird populations in southwest Colombia.  Paul undertook a post-doc at the Natural History Museum and Conservation International from 2002, establishing Project BioMap, before coordinating biodiversity science for Conservation International across the Tropical Andes.    

In 2005, Paul joined American Bird Conservancy as Director of International Programs. In 1998, Paul commenced Project Ognorhynchus to locate and protect the Critically Endangered Yellow-eared Parrot.  With notably project successes the project team established Fundación ProAves Colombia, which is now a thriving national NGO with 65 staff and over 20 projects protecting threatened bird species across Colombia.  Paul helped ProAves' works on nine threatened parrot species and establishment of ten nature reserves.

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Dr. Mark L. Stafford, DDS

Professional Address:
Parrots International
14339 Antioch Street #417
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Academic Degrees
1975: BA Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
1975: BA Environmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
1980: DDS. University of California, Los Angeles, Summa Cum Laude

Current Activities
Dr. Mark Stafford is the founding director and president of Parrots International. Parrots International is a not for profit organization dedicated to the promoting and fostering international cooperation in the conservation of endangered parrot species. Parrots International works in cooperation with other conservation organizations, donors, field research teams, responsible aviculturists and parrot clubs to assist, propose, develop and fund conservation projects throughout the world. The basic premise of Parrots International is that "Conservation happens in the Wild."

Mark and his wife, Marie, have traveled extensively throughout Central and South America, and the Caribbean to view, photograph and film wild parrots. The goal of these trips has been to gain an understanding of the natural history of endangered parrot species, the environmental and human derived pressures relating to their endangered status, and to understand the possible steps that can be taken to bring these beautiful parrots back from the brink of extinction.

Dr Stafford has directed Parrots International to help fund research and conservation projects for the Hyacinth Macaws in Brazil; the Great Green Macaw in Costa Rica; the Lears Macaw in Bahia, Brazil; the Yellow Shouldered Amazon in Bonaire, the Bahama Amazon in Abaco, the Blue-fronted Amazon in the Chaco of Argentina, the Military Macaw in the Oaxaca State of Mexico, and the Puerto Rican Parrot, one of the ten rarest birds in the world. In addition Parrots International is involved in the land purchase, habitat restoration and the future release of the Spix's Macaw back into the wild. In 2006 Mark and Marie received recognition at the US Capital LBJ Room by the head of the US Fish and Wildlife Service for their assistance with the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project. Dr. Stafford, and Parrots International, is a member of the Committee for the Management and Conservation of the Hyacinth Macaw, as well as a consultant for the Committee for the Management and Conservation of the Lear's Macaw and the Spix's Macaw Working Group.

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Caroline Stahala, M.S.

Professional Address:
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Panama City Ecological Services Field Office
1601 Balboa Ave
Panama City FL 32405

Academic Degrees:
1999    BS Biology,  University of North Carolina.
 2005    MS Zoology North Carolina State University

Current Activities
Caroline Stahala is currently an endangered species biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Her primary research interests are in ecology and conservation of imperiled species as well as implementation of policies for species conservation benefits. 

Caroline has been involved with the Bahama Parrot since 2002. Her focus is on the ecology and genetics of the species and participating in local outreach to promote the conservation of the Bahama Parrot. Currently she is working with the Bahamas National Trust to determine the breeding range and requirements of the Great Inagua Island population of the Bahama Parrot; Genetics of the Bahama Parrot; and determining the effectiveness of artificial nesting cavities on Great Abaco Island.

The Bahama Parrot project is a Parrots International supported project. Caroline is the principle researcher and expert on the Bahama Parrot.

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Dr. Darrel Styles, DVM., Ph.D.

Professional Address:
Veterinary Medical Officer
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737

Current Activities
Dr. Styles is an expert in avian infectious and metabolic diseases and their molecular etiology; avicultural science and husbandry; and wild bird conservation and management with respect to disease control and captive rearing programs.

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Ryan Watson

Professional Address:
Blue Macaw Coordinator
Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP)
P.O. Box 44069
Doha, State of Qatar

Academic Degrees:
Post Graduate Degree in Ornithology — Charles Sturt University, Albury, NSW, Australia.Trade Certificate in Applied Zoo Keeping — Box Hill TAFE, Hawthorn, VIC, Australia.

Current Activities
Blue Macaw Coordinator for the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation. Manage the private captive breeding programs of Spix's Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii, Lear's Macaw Anodorhynchus leari and Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus for His Excellency Sheikh Saoud Bin Mohd. Bin Ali Al-Thani owner and founder of Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, Doha, Qatar.

Primary studbook manager of Spix's macaw and supporting studbook manager of Lear's macaw on behalf of the Brazilian Governments department for natural resources the Institute of Chico Mendes for the Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio).

Ryan Watson was born in Singapore in 1978 but raised in his home country of Australia where he has been keeping and breeding birds since childhood, starting with the usual "beginners" birds such as Zebra finches and Budgerigars. By his late teens, Ryan had graduated from the easier to keep species and was particularly focused on breeding and hand-rearing Eclectus parrots. It was also around this time that Ryan gained employment at a Western Australian bird dealership, Birdworld, where he was to spend a little over two years. Ryan gained much experience during this time, particularly in the field of hand-rearing parrots for the pet market.

The experience gained at Birdworld equipped Ryan with the necessary skills for his next position as a bird-keeper at the Adelaide Zoo. Under the tutelage of well known West Australian avicultural identity, Phil Digney, Ryan was given the opportunity to undergo the steepest learning curve of his career and to get more involved in his emerging passion for wildlife conservation. During his time at the zoo, Ryan initiated and managed the zoo's successful Blue and gold macaw free-flight display and managed to raise $10,000.00 for Great-green macaw research in Costa Rica and $5000 for Blue-throated macaw research in Bolivia. Ryan also held the Australasian regional studbook for the endangered Swift parrot Lathamus discolor and was a primary person involved in the first time successful incubation and hand-rearing of two of Australia's most endangered bird species, the Regent honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia and the Black-eared miner Manorina melanotis.

Ryan left the Adelaide after three and a half years after accepting a position with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation as their hand-rearing coordinator on the Echo parakeet Psittacula eques echo recovery programs. This position was seasonal and in between his three seasons working on the program, Ryan spent time working in Hawaii at the Keauhou Bird Breeding Center, a facility run by the San Diego Zoo for endangered Hawaiian birds. Ryan also completed a post graduate degree in Ornithology and was a regular guest speaker at avicultural conventions and club meetings.

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Dr. Thomas White, Jr., Ph.D.

Professional Address:
Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project
Box 1600
Rio Grande 00745
Puerto Rico

Academic Degrees:
B.S. degree in Natural Resources Management from the University of Tennessee at Martin
M.S. degree in Wildlife Management from Louisiana State University
Ph.D. degree in Forest Resources (Wildlife Ecology) from Mississippi State University

Current Activities
Dr. White is a Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,  Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project. Dr. White is responsible for planning and conducting releases of captive-reared Puerto Rican Parrots, and conducting telemetry studies of the wild population. Since 2000, Dr. White has authored or co-authored over a dozen scientific publications on parrot ecology and management, as well as numerous conference and symposia presentations.

Native of Crockett County, Tennessee but has been living in the Caribbean where he has been working with Amazon parrots for over 10 years. Currently employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program where he is responsible for planning and conducting releases and reintroductions of captive-reared parrots, as well as telemetry studies of the wild parrot population in the Caribbean National Forest.

Dr. White also once worked for 6 years as an undercover agent infiltrating organized rings of illegal commercial wildlife traffickers.

(Note: The Puerto Rican Parrot is the only parrot found within the US and its territories and one of the rarest parrots in the world).

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Sam Williams

Sam Williams, University of Sheffield, UK.

Professional Address:
Sam Williams, University of Sheffield, UK.

Current Activities
Sam is currently based at the University of Sheffield, UK where he is conducting a PhD research project on The factors limiting the abundance and distribution the Yellow-shouldered Amazon Parrot. His field research on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles, investigates population biology, habitat use and distribution patterns of Amazona barbadensis. His work is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council in partnership with the World Parrot Trust.

Sam is passionate about conservation and in addition to his research work, he has promoted parrots locally and within the international parrot community. In 2007 Sam developed the website Visitors to the site can watch footage from inside the nests of wild parrots and learn about fieldwork. Sam also writes and presents material on his field experiences and to encourage the enrichment of captive parrots through observations of wild parrot behaviour.

Sam's interest in parrots developed through keeping parrots as a young boy. At the age of 16 he saw his first wild parrots, Echo parakeets, Psittacula echo, which at that time were the world's rarest parrot. He has had a long involvement with the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation and returned to work with the Echos. After his undergraduate studies in Ecology Sam visited Brasil and spent 6 months observing Lear's macaws. The following year he visited Bonaire and he continues to develop research and conservation initiatives on the island.

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This page last updated on May 1, 2008.