The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center is an academic center within the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Our mission is to conduct research into health issues affecting pet, wild and exotic birds. This includes not just the physical health of birds, but also their mental health and the health of the environment in which they live.
In addition to conducting research we also have a major teaching responsibility. We instruct professional students in the DVM program on avian health and conservation medicine.
- Physical Health – We conduct research into and seek solutions to disease problems involving infections, parasites, genetics and nutrition of a diverse array wild and captive birds.
- Mental Health – We are studying the mental health of birds in captivity and investigating the role of stress and training in improving their well-being.
- Environmental Health – We are investigating the behavior and health of wild birds, especially macaws and other parrots in their natural state in the Amazonian rain forests of Peru.
Our mission is not restricted to studies on parrots although that is currently our major research focus. We are also investigating disease issues in waterfowl such as ducks, geese and swans, in songbirds such as zebra finch, game birds such as the Northern bobwhite and seabirds such as gulls.
The Schubot Exotic Bird Research Center is a multidisciplinary group of faculty members and veterinarians dedicated to solving avian health problems through advanced research. We are engaged in studies designed to improve the health of both wild and captive birds. While focusing largely on parrots and their relatives, we also undertake studies on health and diseases of waterfowl, raptors, cranes, seabirds and songbirds.
We are also responsible for teaching DVM professional students about avian health and conservation. Environmental health is a key component of the “One Health” focus of the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Our research is not restricted to the College of Veterinary Medicine. We support studies in other colleges at Texas A&M University as well as multiple international activities. The most significant of these is the Tambopata Macaw Project in the Amazon Rain Forest in Peru.
A Brief History
The Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center was founded at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University in 1987. The Center is supported by an endowment created by the late Mr. Richard Schubot of Loxahachee, Florida. Mr. Schubot was an enthusiastic breeder of large parrots, especially macaws and cockatoos. He was frustrated by the disease problems that he encountered when raising these beautiful birds and resolved to do something about it. By donating to Texas A&M University, Mr. Schubot established a Center dedicated to improving the health of exotic birds.
The first Director of the Center was Dr. David Graham who focused on providing diagnostic services to aviculturists. When Dr. Graham retired in 1998, he was succeeded by Dr. Ian Tizard who has pursued a diverse array of disease and conservation-related research projects.
In 2018, Dr. Sarah A. Hamer was appointed as the Richard Schubot Endowed Chair and director of the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center. Already an associate professor in VIBS, this role includes a joint appointment in VTPB. Her leadership position gives her a chance to assist researchers and current students in reaching their academic goals, while also expanding on the current scholarship in which the center is engaged.
“It is awesome to be surrounded by so many people who are united by their passion for bird health. I value this opportunity to help solve important bird health problems and to provide meaningful training experiences for students,” Hamer said.
“I also have a vision to expand the scope of the types of bird work the Schubot group tackles.”
The Center encompasses two Departments of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences: Veterinary Pathobiology and Small Animal Clinical Sciences. As a result we have access to a modern, fully equipped Exotic Animal Clinic. We have generous laboratory space designed for studies on infectious diseases, pathology, genetics and behavior. Most importantly we have a recently completed Avian Complex with aviaries, isolation facilities, laboratory, clinic and classroom. It is the largest and best equipped of its kind in the United States.