I’d like to introduce you to our new guest writer, Phil Samuelson. Phil has written literally hundreds of articles about proper animal care and husbandry but maintains a special interest in parrot care. In addition to parrots, he has spent his lifetime keeping and breeding other exotic animals, including reptiles and amphibians, and tropical fish.
In his youth, Phil grew up on the Central Coast of California and enjoyed many of the bird species commonly kept as pets before moving up to larger species, both as pets and aviary breeding subjects. For several years he specialized in African greys and the genus Amazona. He has kept pets and breeding pairs of both subspecies of African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus and P. e. timneh), as well as several species of Amazons, some that were common to aviculture and others that were rare. He has owned the common yellow-naped and double yellow-headed Amazons (Amazona ochrocephala spp.), lilac-crowns (Amazona finschi), mealies (Amazona farinosa farinosa), white fronts (Amazona albifrons), Mexican redheads (Amazona viridigenalis), blue fronts (Amazona aestiva) and red-lored Amazons (Amazona autumnalis), as well as more uncommon species such as the Tucuman Amazon (Amazona tucumana), yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis), Bodin’s Amazon (Amazona festiva bodini) and the Panama parrot (Amazona ochrocephala panamensis). Phil has also kept other species of neotropical parrots, including Ara macaws, Pionus parrots and the Pyrrhura conures. He has also kept a few species of cockatoos over the years. Now you know why he is an expert in parrot care.
As a herpetoculturist, he has owned and bred several forms of the endangered West Indian rock iguanas, including the Cuban rock iguana (Cyclura nubila nubila), the Little Cayman rock igunana (Cyclura nubila caymanensis), the Grand Cayman blue rock iguana (Cyclura nubila lewisii) amd the rhinoceros iguana (Cyclura cornuta). He has also owned and bred a number of gecko species, cutting his teeth on the common terrestrial species (leopards, fat tails, etc.) before advancing to the large New Caledonian Rhacodactylus geckos as well as the leaf-tailed Uroplatus species from Madagascar. He has also maintained several tortoise herds, of both endangered and common species. HIs aquarist interests began with South America cichlids back in the late ’70s and gradually shifted to the smaller African lake cichlids when they later entered the aquarium trade.
With an academic background in biology and communications, Phil joined the editorial team of Bird Talk magazine during the 1980s, first as an Associate Editor and later as the only Technical Editor ever on staff during the magazine’s several decades of publication. He has spoken at the American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) Convention, the Midwest Avian Research Expo, the Mardi Gras Avicultural Conference and the Association of Avian Veterinarians Avicultural Workshop. During the mid 1990s Phil became the Founding Editor of Reptiles Magazine, which soon became the most widely read herpetological publication in the world. He also served on the Advisory Council of the International Herpetological Symposium (IHS).
Phil’s articles have appeared in Australian BirdKeeper, Bird Talk, Bird Breeder, Birds, USA, AFA Watchbird, Bird World and American Cage Bird Magazine, as well as Aquarium Fish, Reptiles and Reptiles USA. He has also written an iguana book (Bowtie Press) with his good friend Margaret Wissman, D.V.M. BirdSupplies.com is extremely lucky to work with this parrot care expert.
Phil and his wife (former Bird Talk Editor Kathleen Etchepare) and children currently reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he was the Director of Publication for the American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA) for several years. He continues to maintain an interest in exotic animals and currently breeds champion Redbone Coonhounds under the Crimson Dawn kennel name.