Meet a Leader in Aviculture: Jason Crean

Jason Crean does a "Finish the Sentence" Interview

Patricia Sund with Jason Crean
Jason Crean and I at the AFA Conference in San Antonio, 2012.

Jason Crean is a teacher, a lecturer and a lover of birds and animals in general. He's involved with the American Federation of Aviculture as a Regional Director and he has made quite an impression in aviculture with his knowledge of biology and birds. You can read his resume online right here at MRCrean.com.

 I met him many years ago when we were both speaking at the Rocky Mountain Society of Aviculture in Denver.

He helped me with a technical issue I was having with the projector. We began talking and haven't really stopped since. We co-wrote a couple of articles for BIRD TALK Magazine's online site, "Bird Channel" and we see each other throughout the year at events and expos. I invited Jason to do a  "Finish the Sentence" interview and he graciously accepted the challenge. I gave him the beginning of sentences you see in bold type and he simply finished the sentences. It's a fun way to find out what's really on people's minds. Here is Jason's "Finish the Sentence" interview:

A day doesn’t go by… without me thinking about how to improve the lives of birds. I will always consider myself a lifelong learner and think that topics like avian nutrition will constantly evolve. I’m constantly researching but also thinking outside of the box as we need to try new things and not rely on old, outdated information when it comes to the diets of birds.

So many rely on the very narrow research available to us and it’s simply not enough. So every day, I continue to think about new and different things to introduce to the birds I keep.

I have always wanted… to live in an area where I could keep my birds outdoors. Maybe someday that will happen. For now, my birds have the best possible environment in the greenhouse-style addition I have added to my home.

Lots of natural light and plant life, protection from the elements, and solar-powered air exchange. It’s made such a difference in their lives as well as my own.

One thing I’ve learned… is that I have a great deal to learn. Keeping birds (or any animal for that matter) is a constant learning process that never ends. Some may act like they know it all but, I have found, those are the ones who actually require the most education. Just because one may know how to search the Internet does not make them an expert. And this is the horribly divisive problem with social media. But this will never stop me from pursuing the very best for my birds.

Sometimes your gut tells you… to stop talking and bow out. Sometimes the challenge of introducing new ideas is exhaustive because there will be always be naysayers. But a good friend told me once that there are those who create and those who destroy. Good advice! So I will continue to create and not tear others down as I want to add to our collective knowledge, and not discourage others from pursuing their own knowledge.

The most interesting… trip I’ve taken was my recent trip to Nashville Zoo. I was donating one of my aracari chicks to their education program and while I was there had some very interesting interactions.

Where else could you go where you can play with a clouded leopard kit, get licked by an okapi, and cradle a lesser anteater in your arms? Experiences like this never get old.

My biggest goal… at the moment is to complete my doctorate. I will be engaged in my research later this year and then complete it next year. It has been a long, tiresome journey but I am not one that ever gives up. I could have stopped after two Master’s degrees but I do love to learn!

I’ve never regretted… putting myself out there. I see many who sit in the shadows and quietly work away.  But that doesn’t help anyone. I have always been one to share what I have done, accept criticism and feedback, and improve myself and my work. The recognition that I have received for my work was because others took notice and respected me enough to share it.

That’s actually why I was invited to the White House; people saw me present, were ecstatic about what I had produced, and nominated me for the Presidential Award for science teaching. That recognition has opened countless doors for me. This also applies to my avicultural lectures. I have truly enjoyed bringing information to bird lovers all over the country and the response has been very positive. So positive that the invitations continue to roll in and I graciously accept all that I can. I’m always up for talking to fellow “bird nerds!”