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  Newsletter 21 September 2019  
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Featured Certificant

kennyToday's featured CPBT-KA is Kenny Coogan. Currently, Kenny has several positions. "One of my jobs is in science education. In addition to teaching middle school students life science (genes, evolution, food webs) with a heavy emphasis on birds, I have my own company where I write articles and columns for various publications including Backyard Poultry, Countryside magazine and Florida Gardening. My articles through Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan, include training and enrichment tips, wildlife and gardening articles and raising backyard poultry."

Kenny was inspired to take the test because "As Benjamin Franklin said, "An investment in knowledge pays the best investment." I wanted to become certified to show my commitment to professional development in my field. When I first pitched my weekly column idea to the newspaper I included that in addition to my BS in Animal Behavior I was also a CPBT-KA. Since then, over the past 5 years or so, I have published a little over 350 articles in newspapers and magazines in the US, Canada, Australia, India and Thailand."

If you are thinking about becoming certified, Kenny's advice is "Study! I believe I was in the second cohort to take the test when it first became available. Luckily, I had read many of the resources prior to the certificate being a thing to take. I prepared by typing notes from the various recommended sources.

If you would like to find out more about setting these types of standards within your facility or becoming certified contact the IATCB board by visiting the website!

Certification Examination for Professional Bird Trainers

Are you signed up for the Fall Testing Cycle?! Testing Dates start September 15! The testing cycle will run October 21 to November 4, 2017.

Candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria as of the application deadline indicated on the cover of the handbook:

  • Three (3) years of professional experience with birds, or membership at the professional level in the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators.
  • Completion and filing of an Application for the Certification Examination for Professional Bird Trainers.
  • Payment of required fees.

International Testing

Already certified?

The CPBT-KA credential is valid for 5 years from the date it is awarded. You can renew the credential by either re-taking the examination after 5 years OR you can accumulate 60 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) by attending workshops, seminars, classes, or conferences.

Please note that if you are sending in event attendance forms to claim CEUs and use USPS, we are not able to accept mail requiring a signature. Best method ... email the forms to us.

You can learn more about staying certified at http://www.iatcb.org/staying-certified

Bird is the Word

Vasa Parrots- Parrot or Raptor?V 7536

There are two species of Vassa parrot in the genus Coracopsis: Coracopsis vasa (greater vasa parrot) and Coracopsis nigra (lesser vasa parrot), both of which are native to Madagascar and the Comoro Islands off the east coast of Africa. These unique birds have extremely truncated bodies with long necks, black to grey feathers and a pink-gray beak. Their genus name means “crow-like” and, at first glance, these birds look as if they might be a strange cross of crow, pigeon and pheasant. They have the signature hook bill of a parrot. Vasas display several highly unusual traits, which some aviculturists consider primitive for psittacines. The most unique feature is the male hemi-penis or cloacal eversion which is not seen in any other member of the parrot family. Once cloacal eversion has begun, the skin of both female and male Vasas turns yellow and there is often feather loss, with the female becoming completely bald. The beaks of both the male and female change from their normal grayish black to almost white (the color of the beak when they are juveniles). Vasa Parrots have been observed mating side by side, as well as with the male mounting the female. Different from other parrots and similar to reptiles, the male’s hemi-penis protrudes and the pair actually locks together.

Vasa Parrots are polyandrous (the females can have many mates). Since these parrots attempt to produce young only once per year, the female increases her chances of producing successful offspring by being very demanding of her mate and expecting his full attention. He must feed and mate with her on demand or she will become very aggressive and chase him off. Prior to the eggs hatching, the female will attempt to attract and mate with other males whenever the first male is gone. This behavior increases the chances of successfully raising offspring in the case where any one male has been infertile or inattentive. It has been observed that each of the males who mate with her will also feed her (even if the resulting offspring are not theirs). Having a number of males feeding her is thought to increase the survival rate of the offspring who grow at an amazing rate and therefore need a huge amount of food.

Vasa Parrots are also unusual in their bathing behaviors. When bathing in water, they extend their wings and hop around on the ground. When sunbathing, they are regularly observed lying on tree branches with open wings and uplifted feathers for maximum sun penetration. They also sunbathe on the ground of the savannah where they lay for up to two hours with one wing up in the air and the other extended backwards over their back.

Phyllis Martin and Kim Walde - from the Faunalink Foundation, are in contact with ornithologists in Madagascar who are working on having the Greater Vasa Parrot reclassified. They feel that the Vasa Parrot actually requires meat in their diet and are, therefore, being thought of as the genetic link between parrots and raptors; and that the Vasa Parrot - unlike other parrots -- hunts in the wild.

According to ZIMS, there are only a few Vasa parrots in North America. 1.0 at the Birmingham Zoo, Inc., Birmingham AL; Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, CA with 1.1 , San Antonio with 1.1 and Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, AZ, with 4.2.