THE BIRDMAN® was established in 1983 with the mission to share our love for wildlife and habitat conservation. This is accomplished through the use of creative, positive-reinforcement-based training to ,produce moving experiences and emotionally connect audiences to animals. Our shows displays create inspiration in viewers to feel the wildlife experience so they are inspired to love and support wildlife.
The inspiration for our training is a quote from famous animal trainer Ray Berwick, also the man who created the bird show for San Diego Wild Animal Park and who inspired BnB President Joe Krathwohl to pursue an animal training career. In 1976 after his animal show at Universal Studios, Ray said to Joe, “Birds should be treated in a manner that they do not wish to fly away.” This attitude was considered cutting edge for that time, since most other trainers were using negative reinforcement as the generally accepted approach. From that conversation, young Joe began experimenting with positive reinforcers, and at age 14 created his first bird show for a presentation at a local elementary school. Soon thereafter he was being given birds and animals that others could no longer care for and at age 17 was enlisted by the Oakland Zoo to create an educational program for the children’s theater.
With those early experiences, Joe realized that pet owners and zoos alike could benefit from a more positive reinforcement training approach. From stress-free shifting to force-free injections to visitor engagement, the positive reinforcement approach yielded consistent and widespread results. We took this philosophy with us as our bird show appearances expanded to across California, then across the US, and now world-wide.
As the company grew, THE BIRDMAN and Company offered more and more ways for people to take action to support wildlife. These include sharing our animal training expertise through classes and apprenticeships. Instead merely only providing shows to client faculties, BnB created an intense training program for client staff to accompany in-house show creation. Our contemporary creativity in show production, presentation, exhibit design, and enrichment programs gives The Birdman World Class Bird Shows a huge edge over traditional presentation approaches. The ultimate goal is always to engage more and more people to be inspired to support wildlife conservation.
THE BIRDMAN also expanded to work with clients in major motion films, magic shows, television specials, and many more. Through these types of venues we became skilled with sound, video, lighting, props, magic illusions, and other special effects. These additional skills propelled BnB to be far more creative in show creation than other providers, and helps us to reach even wider audiences than ever before imagined.