2015 IAATE Conference



Hosted by Carolina Raptor Center, in Charlotte, NC USA

 IAATEConferencelogo - sized and colored for web


Dates to Remember

October 1, 2014     
Paper/Poster Abstracts Submission Deadline

December 1, 2014  Conservation and Education Grant Application Submission Deadline

January 1, 2015     Early Bird Registration Deadline

January 15, 2015   Photo Contest Submission Deadline

January 15, 2015   Behavior of the Year Awards Submission Deadline

January 16, 2015   Hotel Guaranteed Rate Reservation Deadline

January 18, 2015   All Mailed and Online Registrations Deadline


If you have questions about any aspect of our annual conference, please contact us by clicking here and selecting "Conference Inquiry" from the drop-down menu.


Our annual conference paper sessions and workshops are eligible for CEUs necessary for maintaining your certification. Credits available are as follows:

IAATE Annual Conference – 9.5 CEUs
IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - A Comprehensive Course for Bird Trainers and Show Presenters - 8 CEUs
IAATE Annual Conference Workshop – Feather Imping – 1 CEU
IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Foundations: Mechanical Skills for Beginners – 2 CEUs
IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - RaptorMed – 1 CEU
IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Career Development – 3 CEUs
IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Enrichment - 2 CEUs

You will need to provide signed proof of attendance to IATCB to get these credits. Workshop leaders can sign the forms for any workshops you attend. Our Vice President can sign any general conference forms. So please bring forms with you to obtain necessary signatures!


Our Keynote Speaker this year is Charles R. Preston Ph.D., Willis McDonald, IV Senior Curator of Natural Science And Founding Curator-in-Charge at the Draper Natural History Museum, Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. He will present a keynote address entitled: Face to Face with the Wild: The Power and Responsibility of using Live Birds in Public Education

Dr. Charles R. Preston is an ecologist, raptor biologist, and widely published authority on wildlife and human – wildlife relationships in Greater Yellowstone. He is the Willis McDonald, IV Senior Curator of Natural Science at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, where he received international acclaim for leading the design and development of its Draper Natural History Museum. He continues to oversee the integrated suite of research, collections, public education (including the Draper Museum Raptor Experience) and exhibition activities of the Draper Museum, and is currently engaged in a long-term study of nesting ecology, diet, and habitat use of Golden Eagles in sagebrush-steppe. Previously, Preston was Chairman of Zoology, Denver Museum of Nature and Science and a tenured Associate Professor of Biology, University of Arkansas, Little Rock. He holds or has held adjunct faculty appointments at the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, Environmental, Population, and Organismal Biology at the University of Colorado, and Environmental Policy and Management, at the University of Denver. Early in his career, Preston led a Ford Foundation award-winning, state-wide education program using live raptors and other non-releasable wildlife in Arkansas.


Fairfield Inn & Suites Charlotte Uptown

201 S. McDowell Street,
Charlotte, NC 28204

For hotel website containing more detailed information about our conference hotel click HERE

Our host hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites Charlotte Uptown, is the perfect site for our North Carolina conference. The meeting space is well equipped for our presentations and the hotel’s amenities are sure to be enjoyed by all. Situated within convenient walking distance from Charlotte’s Epicenter, a variety of restaurants and shops are a short trip on foot from the hotel and provide eating options within all budgets. The hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle service within a three-mile radius.

If you are traveling by air, you will fly into the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

PLEASE NOTE: the hotel does NOT have a complimentary shuttle service from the airport, however, you can get a cab for the flat-rate of $25. The hotel is approximately 8 miles, 15 minutes’ drive from the airport.

We have secured the discounted rates of $129.00 per room, this rate applies no matter the occupancy – single, double, triple, or quad**. Please be sure to mention your affiliation with IAATE when making your reservation. The hotel will be holding a block of rooms for us until Friday, January 16, 2015. The special rate and room availability are guaranteed for the dates of February 15-22, 2015. Check in time is 3:00 pm on the day of arrival. Check out time is 12:00 pm, noon on the day of departure. If early arrivals or late departures are necessary, please let the hotel know in advance and they will make every effort to accommodate.

Additional perks for attendees this year include complimentary Wi-Fi in all hotel rooms, a discounted parking rate for those of you who plan to drive ($7 per day, $10 per overnight), and complimentary breakfast coupons redeemable at the hotel restaurant. **PLEASE NOTE: Although the rate is the same for triple and quad occupancy, attendees choosing to have additional guests in their room should note that the $129 rate includes breakfast for TWO guests only.

To book your room, call 1-704-372-7550 (Hotel Main Line Reservations) or 1-800-551-1692 (Reservations)




Incorporating Creative Design Features in Show Bird Housing to Provide More Stimulating Living Environments
Presenters: Rebecca Bearman, Tommy Hutchinson, James Balance – Zoo Atlanta

Training Voluntary Inductions in Program Parrots to Aid with Medical Examinations.
Presenter: Christine Behringer, National Aquarium

What’s Your Sign? - Using Basic Design Principles to Help Educational Materials Reach Their Audience
Presenter: Amy Fennell CPBT-KA  - Natural Encounters, Inc.

Using Operant Conditioning in Birds of Prey to Obtain Veterinary Diagnostic Samples and to Perform a Complete Physical Examination.
Presenter: Hugo Alejandro González Jassí - UPAEP project “educating is growing,” Puebla, México  

From Obstacles to Assets: Improving Programs by Rethinking Problems
Presenters: Melissa Hill, Brandon Lewis - Draper Museum Raptor Experience, Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Training an American Kestrel for a Collaborative Aeronautical Engineering Research Project
Presenter: Erin E. Katzner, CPBT-KA, Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia (ACCA)

Building Trust Through Empowerment: Positive Reinforcement Training in a Mixed Species Exhibit
Presenter: Alisa Light - El Paso Zoo

The Mouse Went Down The Hole – Revisited: Let Nature Be Your Guide.
Presenter: Cassie Malina CPBT-KA - Natural Encounters, Inc.

Trimming Techniques

Presenter: Karena Marrero - Natural Encounters, Inc.

What’s The Motivation?
Presenter: Steve Martin CPBT-KA – Natural Encounters, Inc.

Reintroduction program of the scarlet macaw in the jungle of Chiapas, Mexico.
Presenter: Fernando Mendoza – Xcaret Park, Mexico

The Flamingo Dance - Using an Instinctual Trigger in American Flamingos.
Presenter: Dave Miller – National Aviary

How to be an Insanely Great Presenter: Lessons Learned from “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”
Presenter: Erin E. Katzner, CPBT-KA, The Peregrine Fund



Gomez: The story of a misunderstood Turkey Vulture
Presenters: Hannah G Baker, CPBT-KA, LeeAnn C Goette, CPBT-KA – Little Rock Zoo

Animal Care, The Importance of Thinking Outside of the Box and Calling on a Specialist for Help
Presenter: Lora Gillock - Denver Zoo

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance: The Voice of Birds in a Humane Message: The Fable Show.
Presenter: DVM Joel Romero Lujan, DVM G. Alicia Sánchez Peralta - MEDCAB (Medicine Clinic of Animal Behavior)

Felix’s Amazing Story
Presenter: Stephanie Sayre – Wings of Discovery

Finding a Big Brown Bird
Presenter: Bree Winchell - Oregon Zoo


Most conference activities (unless otherwise noted) are covered in the full-registration fee. However, it is possible to sign-up for any activity a-la-carte at the conference itself. Prices for activities if NOT registering for the full conference are noted below each activity. Please note: you cannot pre-register for activities individually; this has to be done at the conference. Only full-registration can be made in advance.

Full-Day Training Workshop, February 18

Please note: This workshop is NOT covered in the cost of registration. Reservations will be made on a first come, first serve basis. Space permitting, payment reserves your space. Note guides and certificates of completion will be provided for all attendees. This course is an outstanding preparation for the certification exam.
Note: For CPBT-KA - 8 CEU’s are available for attendance at this workshop.

A Comprehensive Course for Bird Trainers and Show Presenters

This workshop, presented by Steve Martin, Past President of IAATE, is designed for all levels of training experience and includes the most contemporary information on the technology and scientific principals associated with training birds and other animals. Also included is empowering information on producing and presenting affective educational programs. Attendees may submit videos of their shows for evaluation during the workshop. The full-day course includes the following and more:

 Operant Learning Principles
    Understanding Reinforcement and Punishment
    Effective reinforcement strategies
    Schedules, rates, and value of reinforcement
    Alternatives to punishment

Clear, Honest, Communication 
    Prompts, cues, and bridging stimuli
    Problems with baiting
    Effective bridging strategies

    Antecedent strategies to increase motivation
    Choice and control – empowering animals to maximize motivation
    LRS and behavioral momentum
    Weight and food management

Building Trusting Relationships With Animals

Creating High Performing Teams

Show Production and Presentation

    Message delivery
    Show structure
    Ethics – animal welfare, mixed messages
    Dealing with mistakes
    Species selection

Cost: $50
This workshop runs 8am - 5pm on Wednesday, February 18
Limited to 120 participants.


Pre-Conference Trip, February 18

Please note: The pre-conference trip is NOT covered in the cost of registration. See below for details of cost and maximum participant information. The trip includes transportation and provided lunch.

Museum of Natural Sciences and Mist Netting
Bird nerds will rejoice on our trip to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC. The largest of its kind in the southeast, the Museum of Natural Sciences boasts permanent and special rotating exhibits that encourage adults and children alike to get up close and personal with all science and nature have to offer. The newly opened Nature Research Center allows visitors to watch scientists and researchers in action, while the three-story multimedia SECU Daily Planet hosts regular presentations about cutting edge topics impacting the natural world today. We’ll also have the opportunity to tour the museum’s collection of bird artifacts and skins used in research, encompassing a wide array of species. Weather permitting, attendees on this pre-conference trip will also visit the museum’s Prairie Ridge Ecostation, a 38-acre restored prairie, wetland, and forest area that allows museum visitors to experience nature first hand. Our group will be led by none other than John Gerwin, Keynote Speaker for the conference, along with local Audubon members who will demonstrate mist netting and talk about local bird species.

Cost: $35
Limited to 50 participants.



Workshops, February 19 and 20

Reservations will be made on a first come, first serve basis. Space permitting, payment reserves your space. Workshops are NOT covered in the full-registration fee. IATCB CEU’s are also available for certified trainers.

This conference will offer four different workshops. Session lengths and maximum participants vary. Three of the workshops will be offered twice on Friday, in the AM and again in the PM at the hotel, requiring a choice between them. The forth workshop will be on Thursday PM at the hotel, but has no maximum attendance allowing for all attendees to experience this great workshop, should you choose to do so.

Career Development: Do you know where your career path is taking you? Do you have aspirations for a higher level position or to gain more responsibility in your current position? You write training plans for your birds, but have you written a career plan for yourself? In this workshop you’ll learn how to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities you need to reach your goals and keep your career moving forward. We’ll also talk about building your network and putting that network to use as well as what it takes to write a good cover letter and resume. You’ll walk away from this workshop with a clear idea of where your future is headed and defined goals that will make you a greater asset to your organization. This three-hour workshop will be offered twice on Friday February 20 and facilitated by IAATE Board member, Erin Katzner. Career Development Workshop attendees should plan to bring a copy of their up-to-date resume to the workshop for hands-on revision.
Note: For CPBT-KA - 3 CEU’s are available for attendance at this workshop.
Limited to 30 participants.

Foundations: Mechanical Skills for Beginners: The success of our animals is directly related to how we teach. Often we overlook our physical movements and how that affects the outcome of animal behaviors. This workshop will focus on explaining and teaching the importance of trainer movements and coordination when working with birds. A combination of audio/visual presentation along with physical demonstration and exercise will enhance a new trainer's skill set. This two-hour workshop, only for participants with 0-2 years training experience, will be offered twice on Friday Feb 20, and will be facilitated by Phung Luu of Animal Behavior and Conservation Connection.
Note: For CPBT-KA - 2 CEU’s are available for attendance at this workshop.
Limited to 18 participants.

*Feather Imping: Learn the history of feather imping, anatomy of feathers, when to imp, how to choose the right feathers, the equipment you need, how to prepare both the avian recipient and the feathers for the procedure as well as testing them afterwards, and more. In short, everything you need to know for successful feather imping. Also included in this workshop is a practical demonstration of imping as well as materials and time for you to practice prepping and imping feathers yourself. This one-hour workshop will be offered twice on Friday Feb 20, and will be facilitated by Mathias Engelmann, Senior Rehabilitation Coordinator, Carolina Raptor Center.
Note: For CPBT-KA - 1 CEU is available for attendance at this workshop.
Limited to 30 participants.

*RaptorMed: Medical Records System: Want to improve your record keeping? See what a state of the art medical records system can do for you and your birds. In this workshop you will get a complete overview of this record system from its creator, including a walk-through of the interface and details on the variety of records you can keep in perfect order with this innovative system – such as husbandry, medical, training and enrichment, and filing reports.  This one-hour workshop will be offered twice on Friday Feb 20, and will be facilitated by Carolina Raptor Center’s avian vet, and creator of RaptorMed, David Scott DVM.
Note: For CPBT-KA - 1 CEU is available for attendance at this workshop.
Limited to 30 participants.

Enrichment: Tired of enrichment ideas that take longer to create than destroy? Ever made an enrichment offering that took hours only to see it hold the animal’s attention for less thana minute? Then this is the workshop for you! Join the IAATE Enrichment Committee as they give you plans for ten devices that will enrich your birds and make our life easier. Participate in 10 Devices You Can Make Out of PVC in 15 Minutes or Less and you could take home an enriching opportunity for your collection. This two-hour workshop will be offered on Thursday Feb 19 at the end of the presentations day. It has no maximum attendance and as such is open to all attendees who wish to register for it.
Note: For CPBT-KA - 2 CEU’s are available for attendance at this workshop.
No maximum attendance.

Cost: $10 each

*Note: These workshops are one-hour long and scheduled so you can take both in same session. 



This year’s hospitality suite is a large room, perfect for mingling. The hospitality suite presents great opportunities to share information and unwind after a long day of intense learning experiences. This is one of the best ways to share ideas and become inspired by your peers. Please consider bringing video of your show or programming to play in the hospitality suite. Thanks to our generous sponsors, the 2015 hospitality suite will be fully stocked with beverages and snacks.


Icebreaker, February 18

Covered in the cost of full-registration fee.

Enjoy an evening of catching up with old friends and a chance to meet new ones. Our Icebreaker is always a great opportunity to make new contacts and meet fellow IAATE members and likeminded people. Our Icebreaker will feature Trivia Night hosted by the Queen City’s own Roxy C. Moorecox, a comedian and impersonator most recently known for her Adele impersonation. Conference attendees will be broken up into groups to find out who is the most savvy when it comes to bird natural history, bird pop culture, bird training, and any other questions related to the avian field. Attendees are invited to send in questions before the conference to be included in our trivia night…and remember, no question is out of the question!  Please send questions to Natalie Childers at nchilders@carolinaraptorcenter.org. Our Icebreaker also includes a delightful selection of hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. This year, each Icebreaker attendee will also receive one drink voucher redeemable for the beverage of your choice at our cash bar.

Cost if not registered for full conference: Member/Student: $55; Non-member: $60



Night Out, February 19

Take a short stroll up to the Epicenter and join the fun of our Night Out at Howl at the Moon! This year's Night Out is special in there is no charge to attend - it is free to all conference attendees. Mention you are with IAATE when you arrive and you will receive TWO $1 drink tickets. Doors open at 7pm and Howl at the Moon's dueling pianists kick the fun up a notch at 8pm. Get there as early or late as you wish. Live music, $1 drinks, and a big group of bird nerds equals a howling good time!


Zoo Day, February 20

Covered in the cost of full-registration fee.

Before heading over to Carolina Raptor Center, conference attendees will get to sit in on IAATE’s Open Board Meeting and enjoy lunch provided by Something Classic, a catering company that uses a farm to table concept to delight their clients with fresh, local ingredients. Lunch will be followed with a drive out to Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, home to Carolina Raptor Center. Founded in the 1980s, Carolina Raptor Center is dedicated to environmental stewardship and the conservation of birds of prey through education, research, and the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned raptors. Walk the wooded piedmont trails to view over 25 species of birds of prey in display aviaries and take a behind the scenes tour of our rehabilitation hospital, where over 800 raptors are brought in every single year. Since our facility is smaller than most that we visit on conference zoo day, we’re putting our best foot forward and showing off what our whole preserve can offer visitors. Sign up at conference check in to go horseback riding with Latta Equestrian Center, on a Segway tour of the plantation with Parks & Recreation, on a canoe trip of Mountain Island Lake with Parks and Recreation, or a plantation house tour with Latta Plantation staff. We’ll watch a rehabilitated raptor being released back into the wild before heading back to the hotel for evening workshop sessions.

Cost if not registered for full conference: Member/Student: $45; Non-member: $50


Banquet, February 21

Covered in the cost of full-registration fee.

The 2015 conference will wrap up in grand style at this years banquet. The banquet is a great time to recognize our fellow professionals and we do that with the annual awards ceremony. Also included at the banquet is our Photo Contest slide show and winners announcement. And get ready to find out where we are headed in 2016, as next year’s host delivers their fun announcement! Our banquet features a full dinner and a cash bar. This year, each banquet attendee will also receive one drink voucher redeemable for the beverage of your choice at our cash bar. Great food and great times are assured.

Cost if not registered for full conference: Member/Student: $75; Non-member: $80



Help support IAATE! You will be able to purchase tickets for raffle drawings held throughout the conference. We will once again have our Conservation Raffle during the banquet. If you would like to donate items, please bring them to the conference or mail them ahead of time.

If you are shipping packages via USPS, please ship to:

Carolina Raptor Center
c/o Natalie Childers
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC 28078

If you are shipping packages via UPS or Fed Ex, please ship to:

Carolina Raptor Center
c/o Natalie Childers
PO Box 16443
Charlotte, NC 28297

Please mark any pre-shipped raffle donations as “IAATE 2015 RAFFLE DONATION” so we know what it is. Thanks!


Conference Awards, Grants, and Contests

Don't forget to apply for an award, such as Behavior of the Year, and many others, or a Conservation or Education Grant. Deadlines for grant and award submissions vary. Please see below for deadlines. For the 2015 conference, awards and grant submissions will not be accepted at the conference. This is to allow the committees more time to consider each entry as well as edit video for the banquet awards presentation. Please adhere to the individual deadline! Please see our Awards & Grants section to download application forms and for updated details on how to apply. You can't win if you don't enter!

Conservation Grant Submission Deadline: December 1, 2014

Education Grant Submission Deadline: December 1, 2014  

Behavior Awards Submission Deadline: January 15, 2014

Photo Contest Submission Deadline: January 15, 2014

Enrichment Award Submission Deadline: Ongoing as part of the monthly challenge – visit our Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/144483179063468/ Please contact Robin Shewokis, birdelves@aol.com if you have any questions about changes to format this year.



For a printable PDF of the detailed conference schedule breakdown, click HERE.






Mon, Feb 16


Annual Board Meeting


8:00am - 5:00pm


Tue, Feb 17


Annual Board Meeting


8:00am - 5:00pm


Wed, Feb 18     


Full Day Training Workshop

Pre-conference Trip



8:00am - 5:00pm


6:00pm - 10:00pm


Thurs, Feb 19



Poster Presentations

Enrichment Workshop

Night Out


8:00am - 5:00pm

1:00pm - 2:00pm

4:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30pm - 2:00am


Fri, Feb 20



Zoo Day at Carolina Raptor Center    



8:00am - 10:30am

11:30am - 4:00pm

6:30pm - 9:30pm


Sat, Feb 21





8:30am - 5:30pm

6:30pm - 10:00pm


Please feel free to contact us using the contact form. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.


 The International Association of Avian Trainers

is an organization for individuals who are active in the field of avian training and who are involved in environmental education programs.

IAATE was founded to foster communication, professionalism and cooperation among those individuals who serve Avian Science through training, public display, research, husbandry, conservation, and education.

Follow the flock... Visit our Facebook page

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and make sure you check out our Monthly Enrichment Challenge Page


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