My Bird Hates Toys! How Can I Enrich Him?
Robin Shewokis Sullivan is the owner of The Leather Elves, a company that designs and manufactures enrichment devices for animals in human care. Since 2000 Robin has consulted at zoos in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Holland and has distributed enrichment products worldwide. Robin regularly speaks at parrot clubs, providing workshops teaching ways to create a stimulating environment. She also develops new products for parrots that will stimulate naturalistic behavior. Robin has published articles on enrichment in national and international publications. She has also produced a DVDs titled "Enriching Your Parrot's Life" and “Get Your Bird Back.” Robin is past president of The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators. She also serves on the board of National Parrot Rescue and Preservation Foundation.
While president of IAATE Robin’s focus was on increasing education for the avian community. ”In order to provide the best possible environment and quality of life for animals under human care we must build our provider skills through learning and exploration of opportunities. Every time I teach a
workshop or interact with a group of parrot owners I learn new ways to enhance the lives of birds
sharing our lives”
During the Covid-19 crisis Robin worked on ways of keeping parrot owners engaged while unable to
meet in person. To that end Robin began doing weekly educational livestreams called Flock Talk on
Facebook with fellow avian enthusiast Jack Pine of HiRedBird!.
Robin strives to get people thinking about the natural lives of our companion parrots. Life in the wild is challenging and people need to challenge their birds at home. The closer we can get to replicating life in the wild the better the quality of life is for our birds.
Robin also supports a variety of avian conservation efforts in order to help people remember the
connection and responsibility we all have to our natural world. Owners of captive bred parrots have the closest pet tie to any animal species in the wild. In 2011 Robin spoke in New Zealand on animal
enrichment at the Auckland Zoo and parrot enrichment at the Parrot Society of New Zealand. While on this trip she had what she refers to as a ”life changing” experience when she was able to see and
interact with the endangered parrot species, the Kakapo. At the time there were 129 individuals in the world and through the efforts of the Kakapo Recovery Project that number has increased. Seeing
conservation efforts at work sparked a passion in Robin for supporting avian conservation projects in any way she can.