After the arduous and inexact and — for the contestants, perhaps also anxious — task of singling out the sole individuals to receive honors, BirbObserver can now name ALL its winners for 2018:

MOST INSPIRING:                                                                                                                                              Facebook: (Dramatic Pause): The wonderful Welsh-speaking, parrot-parronting Joan Rakrhra of Joan’s North Wales Parrot Rescue! It’s not that Goldie stars in a British TV series, nor that Rolo was brought back from the dead and severe plucking mania, it’s that she makes the best chop and creates such a loving circle of supportive parronts around the rescue.                                                                                                                                           Instagram: Previously announced but no less marvelous, Parront to ten birds, of whom nine are rehomers/special needs, the fabulous Birds of a Feather, @Bird_tails! With a warmth and wisdom unusual for her age and for her years in foster care, Tango’s parront shares her passionate love of birds in an irresistible way as her followers journey alongside her. We’ll tell you more about Birds of a Feather and each of our winners in our upcoming TheRoundUp, January 19.

BEST TRAINER:                                                                                                                                                   Facebook: (Dramatic Pause): The always inquisitive, always innovative-with-technology nice guy, Chris Armstrong, free-flight enthusiast and accomplished animal trainer at Flying Colors Aviary, seemed enthusiastically to concede to Lara Joseph on first learning she was the other nominee: “SHE IS THE BEST!”  By final vote, Lara, owner of The Animal Behavior Center, did prevail. Lara uses positive reinforcement and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to improve the quality of care of pets and also the quality of relationships they have with their owners.  A member of the Indonesia Parrot Project Advisory Board and consultant to zoos, shelters and countless parronts, Lara travels internationally from her base in OH to lecture, teach and demonstrate.                                   Instagram: Previously announced but as delightful, entertaining and genuine as ever, young phenom, Canada’s Cleverest Bird@Koa_tiko! Amazingly, Koa’s mom trains him intuitively, treating Koa as a child, ensuring lots of sleep and making training just part of enrichment and playtime. She has never received formal training!

BEST AVICULTURIST:                                                                                                                                         Overall: Standing so much in a class of his own as author of the globally treasured classic, Psittaculture, that no other nominations were received, our phenomenal winner, Facebook’s Tony Silva: a Miami resident, Tony learned the best of aviculture on his many travels and in the 1990s served as Curator at the beloved Loro Parque in the Canary Islands.

CITIZENSHIP AWARD:                                                                                                                                     We elaborate a preface prior to announcing the award which is most precious to BirbObserver, The Citizenship Award.

             BirbObserver particularly esteems this award, as the ezine seeks to serve the diverse online bird communities. As we all know, life online can let loose the unruly and rude at times. Thus, those who bring civilizing graces to bear deserve gratitude and recognition. It goes without saying that countless deserving persons were not even nominated, and that in our first year, we may not ourselves have best formulated our awards system. But we have done our best. We hope these awards encourage you throughout the year to thank those who demonstrate excellence in building our communal life.

This first year has proved an inspiring learning experience. Importantly, the candidates you nominated exceeded our expectations, and we may expand our categories in coming years. Life is a journey end-to-end with learning moments so we appreciate your help in making these awards the best possible into the future.

You nominated four stellar and upstanding community makers.  Each shines grandly, the more brightly the longer they hone their skills online benefiting from your friendships:

  • Facebook’s Adventures of Roku (FB), Brisbane’s online organic bird food shop which cultivates avian — especially free-flight — community both online and IRL, entertaining and educating with videos of their flock and meetups, starring the unflappable macaw Roku.
  • Instagram’s My Flock of 11 (@fluffy.bird (IG)/Tweety and Friends (FB)) for her exemplary rehoming of birds in both New York State and online, in an environment of love, enrichment and joy; for her demonstrating the intelligence of birds to the world with Tweety, the Talking Parakeet (2014-2017); and most especially, for that generosity of spirit and grace which makes people feel at home visiting her page or account.
  • Instagram’s @Laala_the_banana (Anika Shatara (FB)), friend to many London bird-owners, but, more importantly, self-sacrificing “Crazy Bird Lady” who gives her every extra tuppence and moment of time to protect the feral Indian ringnecks of Kensington Gardens, along with its other wild birds, from the deprivations of winter, even raising funds to provide more nutritive and beneficial fresh fruits and vegetables (To Feed the Wild Animals who Depend on Humans).
  • Joan Rakrhra‘s Facebook group Joans North Wales Parrot Rescue, for the support, education, advise, and atmosphere of complete acceptance and love it fosters in its ever so loyal community, on the ground in Wales and further afield as more come to take part.

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And, the winner of THE CITIZENSHIP AWARD is —–

Adventures of Roku!  Congratulations, Roku and team!

It just doesn't get better than this! (Courtesy of Adventures of Roku)
It just doesn’t get better than this! (Courtesy of Adventures of Roku)

In 2014, Adventures of Roku established “Get Flocked,” Australia’s first IRL free-flight club, building on free-flying macaw Roku’s popularity on the Adventures of Roku YouTube channel.  Adventures of Roku continues creatively to work toward a safe free-flight environment in which the right to free-fly is recognized and protected by law.

In 2015, the online Adventures of Roku shop opened. The website’s education tab features a wide variety of useful articles on parrot topics important to parronts, and now separate “shop” pages exist for Australian and International purchases. Thank you, Roku, for all you have done to promote free flight and online community!

CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU TO EACH OF OUR PARTICIPANTS & WINNERS! We will be in touch with you to arrange for shipping of your trophy and customization of your signature BirbObserver tee-shirt.


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