Representatives from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences broke ground for a new state-of-the-art bird aviary that will support the continued growth of avian medicine and research at the college. From left to right: Dr. Sandee Hartsfield, Head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences; Dr. Eleanor M. Green, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Sharman Hoppes, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences; Dr. Ian Tizard, Distinguished Professor of Immunology, Director of the Schubot Center for Exotic Bird Health, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology; Stacie Koinis, Second year Veterinary Student, President of Zoo, Exotics, and Wildlife (ZEW) student group; Dr. Linda L. Logan, Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology.
The Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in College Station, Texas, announced that they officially broke ground on a new aviary scheduled for completion in May 2014.
The new building will be approximately 11,000 square feet, with plans for a functional hospital, receiving area with quarantine capabilities, two isolation rooms, a laboratory for infectious disease research, classrooms and four offices.
"Our faculty have made substantial contributions to the health and welfare of birds and to the avian industry, in terms of educating future and current veterinarians, providing the highest level of avian patient care, and advancing the knowledge edge,” said Eleanor M. Green, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. "As leaders in avian medicine, we also train the next generation of veterinarians and scientists to continue this important mission. This facility will provide the laboratory, avian housing, and classroom space that will allow this program to continue to thrive.”
The new facility highlights Texas A&M’s commitment to exotic species and to conservation, according to Ian Tizard, Richard M. Schubot Professor of Exotic Bird Health and Distinguished Professor of Immunology in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. "It enhances our programs in environmental health and will be a magnificent resource for the whole college,” Tizard said.
The new, climate-controlled aviary will be able to house a population of 200 to 250 birds — many more than is possible in the current facilities — in a comfortable and safe environment, with separate spaces for infected and healthy birds, which will help researchers conduct their studies. One major research program Texas A&M has is the study of the prevention and treatment of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD), which involves birds infected with avian bornavirus.
The new facility will expand the capabilities of the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center at the CVM, founded in 1987 by an endowment from Mr. Richard M. Schubot with matching funds provided by Texas A&M University. The center conducts research into all aspects of disease in wild and captive birds, as well as avian genetics, genomics, nutrition and behavior. The results of research at the center are already being applied to improving the health of birds kept by zoos, aviculturists, and individual pet owners, as well conserving threatened avian species in the wild.
"Although the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center is already known internationally in the avian world, many in our own university and community are unaware that we are here and what we have done or are doing in terms of both avian conservation and clinical diagnosis and treatment,” said Sharman M. Hoppes, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the CVM and a specialist in avian medicine. "This new and improved aviary will increase our exposure and hopefully excite the community and encourage them to support our work in avian research and the care and management of our birds."
Check out architecture rendering of the new building in the slideshow below.
BirdChannel recently did an interview with Ian Tizard, director of Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center at Texas A&M, on his thoughts about the future of bird science. Check it out here.