Introducing Dr. Amy Zhao of The Budgie Academy

As many of you know, a bit over a year ago I landed in Indiana. Before that relocation, I put out a plea for assistance in the form of a GoFundMe campaign. A lot of you helped me. At the time in gratitude, I promised that I would resume posting on my blog as soon as I had settled. I have not done so quite yet because I took a detour along the way. (I continue to be endlessly grateful to all of you who helped me and I can reassure you that new blog posts are coming soon.)

Having grown increasingly distressed by the poor quality of information available on the internet and decreasingly confident in my ability as one person to counteract it, I decided to begin mentoring others to become parrot behavior consultants. Whereas the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants does offer certification for parrot behavior consultants, they do not offer the education that will allow one to become certified.

I now have a group of 20 mentees, each brilliant in their own right. Some have zoo training backgrounds or have worked professionally as dog trainers. A sprinkling are free flight specialists. A few focus on smaller species. One or two work on the rescue side of things. A few already have their own behavior consulting businesses. Members are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada. As a group, we are a force for the dispensation of correct information and the provision of effective assistance for parrot owners everywhere.

It is my great good luck that Dr. Amy Zhao is one of my mentees. Dr. Zhao is an animal scientist living in Boston with her three budgies and two cockatiels. She earned her B. S. in Animal Science from Cornell University in 2014 and continued to earn her PhD in Animal Science specializing in animal physiology and molecular and cell biology from Cornell University in 2019. During her time at Cornell, she has worked with and taken classes in management and husbandry for many animal species including sheep, cattle, horses, birds of prey, and of course, parrots.

She also spent eight years as a teaching assistant for courses including Domestic Animal Biology, Animal Nutrition, Domestic Animal Behavior, and Comparative Animal Anatomy and Physiology. Dr. Zhao has 15 years of teaching experience in biology, physiology, nutrition, behavior, and more for students ranging from elementary to the graduate level.

She continues to expand her expertise through additional continuing education in nutrition, physiology, applied behavior analysis, and parrot behavior consulting. Today she uses her experience and knowledge to help guide other budgie owners on their journey to care for their pet budgies.

I am introducing Dr. Zhao to you now because she will be giving a webinar on October 14 for the Phoenix Landing organization and I wouldn’t want you to miss it! Her presentation titled What the Budgerigar Can Teach Us About Parrot Care will be held at 1:00 p.m. EDT. She has new information to present about budgie care, especially their dietary needs and specific requirements for managing budgie populations, all science-based. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is only for budgie owners! To register, please go to the Phoenix Landing Events page.

Dr. Zhao and I have also begun working together to determine more closely the impact that different foods have on the increased production of reproductive hormones in companion parrots. The conversation began when I said to her: “I know for a fact that budgies and cockatiels do best when eating Roudybush pellets, Lafeber Nutriberries, and Avicakes but I don’t know why!” She took on the challenge and what we have discovered will significantly impact our current ideas about parrot nutrition and pellet formulation in the future. Stay tuned!

Please welcome Dr. Zhao to our parrot community as a resource that can be trusted by attending on October 14 and sharing this post wherever you can.


Thank you for reading my blog. I am Pamela Clark, an IAABC Certified Parrot Behavior Consultant. My passion is helping people with their parrots. To access free resources, schedule a consultation, subscribe to my newsletter (a different publication from this blog, or purchase my webinars, please visit