Avian Sciences Graduate Group Alumni
Major Professor: James Millam
Home Department: Animal Science
- M.S. Avian Sciences - UC Davis 2010
- B.S. Biology, Northeastern University - 2006.
Welfare Implications of Preferences and Motivational Strengths of Amazon Parrots for Naturalistic Food Forms.
Conservation & Research Officer, Jurong Bird Park, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Pte Ltd.
My general interests include captive parrot welfare and research. Between 10-20 million birds live as companion animals in the United States, with 11% comprised of large parrots. Proper welfare and management of these animals is of growing concern as birds are notorious for developing behavioral problems in captivity. While there are many commercially available devices and therapies for companion birds, there is little scientific evidence supporting their implementation or interest to birds. Specifically, my research focuses on activity budgets, meal patterning, and preference and motivational testing in captive Orange-winged Amazon Parrots (Amazona amazonica). As far as we know, the activity budgets and meal patterning of captive parrots have yet to be described. By developing a nonbiased, automatic data collection system which records cage position 24hr/day via infrared beams, we were able to characterize these behaviors. Our results suggest activity budgets and foraging time of captive parrots fed a traditional pelleted diet are in stark to their wild counterparts. However, we discovered that with different pellet sizes that more closely resemble natural foods we are able to extend the foraging time of captive parrots five-fold. We are now testing the importance of these pellet sizes to the parrots through preference and motivational tests. In addition, we are also determining the effects of enrichment device use when presented with different pellet sizes. Understanding why birds interact with enrichment devices is important in order to provide a device that is truly enriching to the bird.
Rozek, J. C., Danner, L., Stucky, P., and Millam, J. R. Over-sized pellets naturalize activity budgets of Orange-winged Amazon Parrots (Amazona amazonica). Submitted.