When it was suggested that I write an article on the Hagen Avicultural Research Institute (HARi) for the Watchbird, especially since this year's AFA Convention Key Note Speaker is Mark Hagen, I truly thought the article would just write itself! There are so many things to say about HARi that I wanted to share, but when it came down to just an article that explained the dedication and rich history of a parrot breeding facility in Canada, there was just too much to tell. And, honestly, the initial article sounded much too much like a polished press release. After giving much consideration to the process, I decided to tell the HARi story from not just an employee of Rolf C. Hagen perspective, but from an aviculturist's perspective. After all, it is from that perspective that I came to appreciate what HARi stands for!
And, this is HARi. ...
The most significant thing to say about HARi stems from a statement that is widely expressed by the HARi Team -"nothing is absolute - we are always learning". And nothing could be more true when one looks at the many spokes of the avian community and all that the world of psittacine encompasses - be it companion bird, retailing birds and bird products, breeding, rescue and adoption, veterinarian contributions and especially wild parrot conservation. HARi has contributed to each of those spokes of the avian community with financial as well as supportive experience and knowledge that stems from the facility's meager beginning in a rented warehouse in 19 8 5 to the self sustaining state of the art facility in Riguad, Canada that it is today. With that being said, HARi has its roots well planted with a solid foundation fed by experiences of successes and failures, and then coupled with budding innovative philosophies to ensure the future for parrots and the avian community. With the passion of keeping parrots as pets, all while having a strong and committed concern for parrots in the wild, Mark Hagen, Director of Research at Rolf C. Hagen Inc. and HARi, has lead his facility with a "share the knowledge" philosophy within the avian community on a global scale for decades. In fact, Mark Hagen and members of the HARi Team have spoken on all topics at avian seminars and conferences all over the world.
In one of my most memorable aviculturist conferences many years ago, Mark Hagen, while presenting his talk at a US conference, "The Acquisition of Amazons", openly discussed HARI's Pacheco's virus outbreak. That was remarkable to me! After all, back in the 1980's when so many of the avian diseases were still a baffiing and heartbreaking experience for many aviculturists and avian veterinarians, here was an aviculturist willing to admit that a disease was present at his facility. He offered not just solutions in husbandry protocol, but also support to the veterinarian community, with hopes that the avian community would benefit. I have learned that from that point forward, sharing knowledge is probably the most notable aspect of Mark Hagen and HARi, which benefits the entire avian community.