I have an idea. I would love to call an Avian Summit. This would be where all of the experts in the industry would be called together to have a meeting. At a round table. And the people there would talk about the state of the industry and what needs to be done to improve the situation, promote better good will between factions and maybe begin a dialogue on how to begin to work together a little more closely and fluidly. Not all of these people would agree on many of the subjects I’d like to see discussed. Some of their points of view are so diametrically opposed, it’s startling. Yet I think it would be a very valuable meeting and I believe a lot of good would come out of it. What I want to do is perhaps try and begin to have all of us on the same page to help the field become more united and moving toward the same goal: Keeping the interest in birds alive as well as the advancement of research, information and education.

In this particular post, I am neither agreeing with nor disagreeing with these people. I simply think they have their points of view and in my opinion, they would add a lot to a meeting of this type. I’m a writer. And doing what I do, I think my job is to write about the field as a whole, not necessarily just the things I personally prefer.

But who to ask? What would they talk about? Well, as you can imagine, I have a few ideas. And these are just off the top of my head. Perhaps I’m not accurate on this, but at least it’s the beginning of what I would hope could come to pass. This is not a complete list. It’s just a mind toy at this point. And I don’t have all the answers. This is not a complete list of individuals nor is it a complete list of topics. I have other ideas, other thoughts. And I would leave it to people far more knowledgable and up to date than me to arrange and design this summit. I can’t even imagine trying to schedule these people so they are able to all show up on the same date, in the same place, at the same time.

Most of these people I have met, know, communicate with or have heard them speak. And in the case of Dr. Brightsmith, we even danced together once.

May they all be wise and strong….

People I’d like to see sitting at the round table and why:


Dr. Susan Friedman (Behaviorworks) Behavior training helps everyone. I’ve known Susan for years. And I credit her for even getting me into this writing business.

Rick Jordan (Breeder) He maintains that the breeding aspect keeps the research funding going. And Rick makes me laugh!

Dr. Scott Echols (Avian Vet)  He knows a lot of bird people, he’s a DVM and he has a level head. Besides, he’s not hard to look at.

Dr. Irene Pepperberg (The Alex Foundation) Well, it’s the Alex Foundation. Enough said.

Donald Brightsmith (Tambopata Project) Conservationist, Scientist and great dancer.

Sybil Erden (The Oasis Sanctuary) The Oasis is strictly Sanctuary as opposed to rescue.

Marc Johnson (Foster Parrots) Rescue and Sanctuary. Also not hard to look at.

Jacque Johnson (Best Friends- Parrot Garden) Works at probably the largest the most economically stable rescue in the country. Really incredibly cool person.

Steve Malowski and Dave Oehler (Cincinnati Zoo)  They’re Zoo Guys. They have their points of view as well. It would also be cool to sit down and have a beer with Steve again.

Mark Hagen and Melanie Allen (Hagen Pet Foods) Manufacturer and funders of HARI. Besides, they both make me laugh.

Laney Rickman (Bird Endowment) Conservationist AND Breeder. Great lady!

Ann Brooks (Phoenix Landing) Successful Adoption and Education Organization. Another great lady!

Irena Schulz (Bird Lovers Only Rescue) Rescue and well known for “Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo” and the marketing involved. Ditto!

NPRPF Reps (Houston Parrot Festival) Successful marketers of an annual event.

The World Parrot Trust. They’re the freakin’ World Parrot Trust for cripes sake. I don’t think I need another reason.


It would be a long road, but an interesting one and certainly enlightening. Now, what would they talk about? Well, how about these topics for starters? You might have ideas on what could be discussed, but this is just a start:

“Breeders and Rescuers” (Can we get our act together please?)

“Sanctuary, Rescue and Adoption” (Can we get our act together please?)

“Would Aviculture Survive Without Breeding?” (Or: Is the end of breeding a return to poaching?)

“Exploring the Possibility of a National Directory and Database” (Database of Rescued birds, Sanctuaried Birds, and the exchange of birds for placement, rescue and sanctuary)

“Conservation: Involving the Civilian Bird Owner in the Conservation Effort”

“Zoos: Education, Infotainment and the involvement of Zoos in all areas of Aviculture”

Will it come to pass? I’d certainly like to think so. As I stated before, these are simply some pretty broad strokes I’ve painted here with a very big brush. I didn’t sweat over the details because I can’t think of everything. It’s just a taste; a glimpse of something I would very much like to see happen. And maybe someday, it will.