My aviary: the evolution of a tropical jungle

When I arrived at Loro Parque as Curator of Birds in 1989, my goal was to breed a species whose status in the wild appeared to be beyond critical. Only three birds were known to occur in nature and slightly more than a dozen in captivity. Loro Parque held a pair that had never breed and to get them to do so was a priority. This goal was finally achieved. This photo depicts me with the first Spix’s Macaw born in 1992 at the park.
I have always worked closely with clinicians and have learned many veterinary techniques. One Sunday the veterinarian at Loro Parque had taken the day off. A Green-winged Macaw injured itself and required suturing. I could not locate the veterinarian and could not let the injured bird sit idle, so I placed the acumen gained over the years into practice: I sutured the wound close. The bird healed perfectly.
During a study in the mid-1980s involving weight gains in Yellow-winged Amazons being parent reared in the wild, I selected seven chicks whose coloration was special; I collected these before they fledged and then cared for them during quarantine. That bloodline still exists in my aviaries.
Research has always been an obsession. Here I am measuring an Amazon parrot to gather data for the first edition of my Psittaculture book.
After more than 40 years as an aviculturist, I often state that today I know less than I did yesterday because the parrots teach me something new every day. Here I am seen discussing new observations with Philippe Crayssac of France, an aviculturist who is a keen observer and whose experience with Eunymphicus (horned parrots) is unparalleled.
Senior Crayssac, his wife Nanette and two French aviculturists, Nicolas Corne (left) and David Monroger (right) discussing parrot husbandry.
I have been hand-rearing parrots since the mid 1970s. This photograph from 1979 depicts me feeding a chick. Contrary to some unfounded claims, hand-reared birds can breed successfully if they are not imprinted and if they are allowed to mature interacting with other birds in an enriched environment.