Matt Schmit has been involved in aviculture since 1987. He began his interest in birds as a curious 12 year old when a retired parrot breeder moved in next door with a small collection of his most prized birds. By the age of fifteen, Matt was working with a small collection of Neophema parakeets and Estrilid finches. In addition to his personal collection, he began working for a local aviculturist who owned a retail pet store and began hand-rearing many of the baby parrots hatched from the aviary.
He received his BSc in Zoology, with emphasis on animal care, animal behavior and wildlife nutrition, from Washington State University. While earning his degree, Matt worked for the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium as a zookeeper, working with birds, reptiles, small and large mammals. After graduating, Matt joined the bird department at the Houston Zoo in Houston, Texas, USA where he currently works with one of the most diverse bird collections in the United States - approximately 240 different species of birds, including Blue-headed Macaws, St. Vincent Amazons, Rhinoceros Hornbills, Shoe-billed Storks and Pesquet’s Parrots. Matt currently maintains the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Chestnut-mandibled (Swainson’s) Toucan Studbook for the North American Region. Over the years, Matt has worked with a representative of almost every family of birds and has gained a keen understanding of the unique needs and requirements for different species of birds, including dietary, environmental, and behavioral requirements.
Although he has experience with many different species, Matt's avicultural interests center on lories. For this reason he has chosen to focus the majority of his personal collection on this group of birds. Matt frequently attends national and international avicultural conferences, and has presented papers at conferences hosted many organizations, including the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the American Federation of Aviculture, and the Parrot Society of Australia. Matt also enjoys speaking at bird club meetings around the country.
Matt can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.