My name is Logan Connor, Director of Aviculture at Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy in Litchfield, Connecticut.
I first began as a volunteer at Ripley in 2012, as a freshman in high school. Although I did not have a long history of working with waterfowl, I had an interest in working with birds and wanted to learn more. My passion for raising birds started at a young age when I began raising chickens for exhibition alongside my grandfather and uncle. At the time, I started off with a half-dozen or so Bantam Rhode Island Whites, but spent countless hours researching genetics, working on coop designs, and contacting other breeders. As I got older, I began introducing new breeds and selectively breeding my birds to fit the standard of perfection for show, which meant lots of breeding and incubating. Although chickens do not pose nearly as many challenges as waterfowl, I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of raising chickens and was excited at the opportunity to expand upon that at RWC.
Throughout high school, I spent almost every day after school and most weekends at the conservancy helping where I was needed and trying to learn as much as I could. Whether it was feeding birds or moving rocks from one aviary to the other, I was happy for the opportunity to be close to the birds and to spend my time at such a unique place. In 2015, I was hired part-time and I began getting more in-depth, hands-on experience with the breeding and husbandry side of aviculture. Like most, I enjoyed spending countless hours watching breeding behavior, making improvements in aviaries to encourage nesting, and learning the nesting preferences of each species. At the time, I did not have my sights set on anything specific after High School, but my time at RWC and my interests in wildlife, specifically waterfowl, encouraged me to attend Unity College where I received a degree in Wildlife Biology.
Going to school in Maine meant less time at the conservancy, but I was always eager to come back on holidays and spring/summer breaks to work. In 2019, I graduated from college and was hired as Ripley's aviculturist. It is amazing to look back on how much I have learned and how far I have come as an aviculturist, since my early days as a volunteer. What I enjoy most is the potential to learn something new every day. There is a lot of unpredictability when it comes to raising and breeding waterfowl, which in my opinion is what makes it so interesting and rewarding. Every year, as spring approaches, I am eager to build upon last year's breeding successes and failures in hopes of expanding RWC’s collection of rare and endangered species.