EB CRAVENS has been raising, training, keeping and rehabilitating psittacines since the early 1980s, both as manager of a respected exotic bird shoppe in Santa Fe New Mexico, and with his hobby breeding facility on the Big Island, Hawaii.
Through various writings and lectures in the U.S. and abroad, Eb espouses the ideas of “Natural Parrotkeeping”–the looking to nature as a guide to captive aviculture and petkeeping. His research has for more than a decade been focused upon the critical need for allowing flight to weaning parrot chicks, and the many related behaviors which are associated with correct and natural fledging.
Most recently, Eb has begun to document the problems stemming from removal of parrot chicks from their secure parental nestbox environment before eyes open and feathers are grown.
“Everything we do in parrotkeeping is founded in conservation,” Eb says. “Whether owning a single household Red-tailed African Grey, or a barn full of breeding cockatiels and parrotlets. In order to do our chosen task responsibly, we must find a way to give back to the psittacines still living wild and free.”
At Canadian Parrots West EB will be speaking and showing color slides on two topics. The first “Natural Methods of Parrotkeeping” will focus on the ways many of us may improve our pet and breeder bird environments in order to eliminate dysfunctional behaviors in our psittacines. Feeding, bathing, grooming, maintaining greenery, encouraging parrot companionship between different species, and some of the best ways to get reluctant psittacine species to go to nest and raise their own chicks are a few of the topics that will be covered. Of the some 75 species Eb has worked with, he and his pictures particularly favor conures, mini-macaws, kings, australian parakeets, electus, lorikeets, derbyans, amazons, macaws and the fuscicollis cape parrot.
In a second presentation, EB will focus parrots in the Amazona genus including specific descriptions of his four-generation family tree of Yellow Fronted Amazons, Amazona ochrocephala. He is one of the directors for the species cooperative captive management program for Yellow Fronts (Yellow Crowns), established through Bird Clubs of America and has been keeping and breeding them since the mid-1980s. Much if his knowledge of Yellow Fronts in captivity comes from housing newly fledging offspring, both handfed and parent-raised birds, in a modified colony environment where siblings can interact with parents, granparents, aunts, uncles and such. For one thing, this makes genetic blood sexing of young birds unnecessary–as the adult males and females do the sexing in front of your eyes!
Eb has been an avicultural writer since his days editing and working for AFA’s Watchbird Magazine from 1991 to 1995 where he produced “The Natural Choice.” He is a regular columnist for PARROTS Magazine out of England, and Sally Blanchard’s Companion Parrot Quarterly, and is now in his seventh year publishing “Birdkeeping Naturally” a monthly series of articles on all aspects of birdkeeping which is available to individuals and clubs for hand out and re printing.
EB is also in process of finishing an eight-year book project on natural birdkeeping.
He lives on a small fruit and macadamia nut farm at the extreme southern part of Big Island Hawaii where he grows and gathers most of the fresh produce he feeds his flock. This is EBs first trip to Canada to give a symposium presentation. Wherever he lectures, he is noted both for the visual splendor of his photographs and making himself very available to the public for hours of questions on both pet parrot problems and breeder situations. He particularly enjoys consultations with novice birdkeepers and first-time pet parrot owners. This hobby aviculturist works ceaselessly for the birds–and loves it!