14 Jan Meditations on the new year…
2017 was a whirlwind year for us at Avian Behavior International, and we have so many people from our San Diego community and beyond to thank for that.
The birds we raised and trained here in 2016 have all been successfully moved to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska for a fabulous new bird show there. We welcomed the birth of new miniature donkey, Lucy, if a bit unexpectedly, to her mom, Pepper, who came to the ABI farm the previous August. Chiquita the Toco Toucan also joined are avian family, and has made a herself an integral part of our programs.
We have been growing our farm, adding chickens, goats, citrus trees, persimmons, loquats, and passion fruit to include a lot of produce that we can not only provide for our animals, but also discuss how agriculture and conservation can work together all over the world. We’ve reached so many people across the globe through speakerships and workshops this past year. And in addition to all of the wonderful guests and audiences we have hosted here at the farm and out in the community, it has been exciting and inspiring to meet and learn with the families that have traveled near and far in order to have a truly memorable experience flying with the birds.
We are champing at the bit for 2018 with a lot in store for our varied audiences. We are excited to produce our first ever Training Retreat, where attendees will broaden their horizons and sharpen their skills training our birds, farm animals, and more. Our birds will help in raising money at a few fundraisers already in the works. And finally, the new year will bring more flight program birds for training at the farm as we continue our work sharing the joy of free flying birds with other zoological parks and gardens.
You can expect to see more workshops, more conservation programs, and more engagement with our community in exciting ways this coming year. Our mission, now more than ever, is to continue to bring about awareness of conservation challenges to birds and their native environments in a unique and interactive way, and we have set this as one of our top priorities for the coming year. We have more events on the farm in the works to help bring families closer to the animals and understand what we can do on a daily basis to impact the world for the better.
In his 1933 book, Finding Your Strength in Difficult Times: A Book of Meditations, psychiatrist David Viscott wrote:
The purpose of life is to discover your gift;
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.
As animal trainers, we know intimately well the joy that free flying birds brings as well as the challenge it poses in relinquishing control of so many variables and allowing our birds this kind of freedom. We work on a daily basis to master and perfect our craft, growing our skills to provide the very best work we can to our birds. Through sharing the birds and teaching others the power of positive reinforcement training, our mission is fulfilled when we allow the happiness of the birds to send our message forth.
We know that interacting with these incredible beings can bring someone to tears. We know that the power they hold in unlocking the secrets of avian abilities can have a profound and long-lasting impact on humans. We can be moved to change our daily habits, to travel across the globe, change our career path, or donate to a cause all because of the birds we meet and learn from. As developments and industry swallow up precious habitat and we become less connected to the natural world around us, it is most important now more than ever that we share our relationship with these birds to help provide for their wild counterparts. With that in mind, we look forward to going into this new year filled with ideas and goals to help foster this same concept of purpose to protect the creatures we love all around the planet. Taking a long look at all the ways that ABI strives to contribute to conservation projects, we truly believe that we can say that a bird on the hand is worth two in the bush.