the companion avian manifesto: the value of birds are our patients and pets

Download The Companion Avian Manifesto: The Value of Birds are Our Patients and Pets

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Presented as a master class at the Association of Avian Veterinarians conference in 2008 by me and my coauthor on the paper, Dr. LoraKim Joyner. The purpose of this talk was to examine how birds and humans benefit from their relationships with each other and review how philosophical, religious, and scientific constructs enable and impede our ability to serve as caregivers, stewards, conservationists, and doctors for the feathered beings with which we interact.


  • 1. The Companion Avian Manifesto: The Value of Birds as Our Patients and Pets Jeleen Briscoe,VMD, DABVP (Avian) University of Pennsylvania School ofVeterinary Medicine LoraKim Joyner, DVM, MPVM, M.Div. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville
  • 2. Welcome and Introduction
  • 3. Goals Use hands-on examples to understand how being human affects how we interact with and view our staff, owners, patients, and pets Understand how birds and humans have benetted from each other over time Learn more about avian and human nature Understand the power of language and communication skills to motivate self and others to care for birds Have fun
  • 4. Outline of Class Introduction Cost/Benet Analysis Understanding Avian and Human Nature How Humans Comprehend Nature: Language & Social Constructs Exercise Religion & Ethics Exercise Call to Action Role-Play Conclusion and Evaluation
  • 5. Cost/Benet Analysis
  • 6. Cost/Benet Analysis
  • 7. Understanding Avian and Human Nature
  • 8. Avian Nature Class Aves: over 8700 members Most modern-day avian Orders are 35 million years old Traditional research on animal brains: Primates used to evaluate intelligence Birds used as models for associative learning Recent recognition of cognitive abilities of corvids and parrots
  • 9. Corvids, Parrots, and Primates Large relative forebrain size Evolutionary pressures of a constantly changing physical and social environment Omnivorous, generalist foragers Socially complex group-living Prolonged developmental period Relatively long life-span
  • 10. Bird Brains Traditional mammal model: six-layered neocortex Semantics:-striatum = basal ganglia = bird behavior is instinctual Actually, bird brains are derived from the pallium, just like mammalian brains Parallel evolution
  • 11. Evolutionary Ecology and the Avian Brain Correlation between relatively large brain size in parrots and corvids and: High innovation rate Tool use Larger relative telencephalon size in transactional vs. solitary avian species
  • 12. Adaptive Specialization & Study of Avian Brain Social Learning Fisher & Hinde: blue tits and the milk bottles
  • 13. Anthropocentric Study of Avian Brain Concepts and categorization Watanabes art pigeons
  • 14. Combining Ecology and Anthropocentrism Episodic-like memory Clayton & Dickenson and scrub jay caching of perishable foods
  • 15. Combining Ecology and Anthropocentrism Ecological importance of adaptive exploration Mettke-Hoffman and neophobia in parrots
  • 16. Avian Nature Scientic proof of avian intelligence Cognitive ornithology Evaluation of birds for their abilities within an ecological context Power in science
  • 17. Human Nature
  • 18. How Humans Comprehend Nature: Language and Cultural Constructs
  • 19. How Humans Comprehend Nature Action and Thought Human attitudes towards animals: typologies Similarity principle and likeability of a species Language and Social Constructs Words used in reference to birds
  • 20. Exercise 1. Based on the word used, is the bird more subject or object? 2. Rank or describe what kind of care a human would be motivated to provide for the bird based on the word used to describe it 3. Think about instances where a certain word can inuence how willing a human would be to care for the bird
  • 21. How Humans Comprehend Nature: Religion and Ethics
  • 22. Call To Action
  • 23. Conclusion and Evaluation