New Zealand Branch
Rachel Ward CPBC, PGDipSc
Owner and Avian Behaviour and Training Consultant
Parrot Life® is owned and operated by Rachel, who has an extensive background working with parrots of all shapes and sizes and in many different environments, including her native New Zealand. She has loved parrots since a young age, and has dedicated her life to learning about, working with and conserving these magnificent animals, and years working with and keeping parrots also means a strong background in husbandry, nutrition, health, enrichment and all things parrot related. Her under-graduate degree and then post-graduate thesis research into parrot behaviour and cognition has given her an excellent background into animal behaviour and parrot behaviour in particular, which she has built on in the workforce. Her training skills were developed from working at a leading New Zealand wildlife park, as part of a development team to create a free-flight bird show and animal encounters using parrot species from around the world. She built on her wide range of parrot training skills (behaviour identification, behaviour modification protocols, novel behaviour training, free-flight training) when she moved to Australia in 2013, gaining more experience and attending professional development events around Australia, with methods all based on Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) and all using positive reinforcement based non-coercive techniques. Since moving back home to New Zealand in 2018 to start a family, she has also developed the business from afar, hired more consultants, travelled internationally (as far as Tokyo!) for events, built strong business relationships with key stakeholders, assisted local conservation projects through avian management contracts, and gained her Certified Parrot Behaviour Consultant certification through the IAABC!
PGDipSc Zoology (with Distinction) awarded by Massey University
BSc Zoology/Ecology awarded by Massey University
11+ years working with a multitude of parrot species in a behavioural capacity, including both wild and captive birds and endangered New Zealand and Australian native species.
Assistant Animal Trainer at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park, New Zealand 2009 - 2013.
Avian Management Officer at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre
2014 - 2017. Worked intensively on onsite husbandry, diet, volunteer training, cockatoo rehabilitation and movements, clinic set-up, release assessments, special projects and training of non-release birds for display and education. Continued to be involved externally until 2020.
Avian Behaviour and Training Consultant, Owner/Operator of Parrot Life® Behaviour and Training. Since 2013.
Professional Member of I.A.A.T.E (International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators) since 2013.
Certified Parrot Behaviour Consultant (CPBC Certification) with the International Association of Behaviour Consultants (IAABC)
Kākā and Kākāriki Aviary Manager - Cape Sanctuary, New Zealand. 2019 - ongoing.