The “TopBird” for animal training and presentations Joe Krathwohl “The Birdman” ® is known all over the world for his bird and animal training. His desire to share a deep-rooted love for birds led to the founding of “Joe Krathwohl’s International Bird Show.” In 1985 Joe was using his birdshow to work his way through college and began performing on weekends at the world famous Pier 39 in San Francisco, CA. The Pier is 1/2 mile from the “The Rock” where Robert “The Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud spent some of his sentence. Tourists and media quickly attached the name “The Birdman” to Joe, giving his free-flight macaw show a huge following. In 1988 the company was renamed Birds n Beasts Inc. This name better reflected the growth of the company which soon included more than birds alone. Joe had come to realize his overall training approach was to treat every animal he met as if they could leave at any moment, and such sensitivity to engaging the trainee helped him to quickly build partnerships with all mammals, reptiles, and even bugs.
In 1989 Joe was contacted by the Las Vegas Tropicana Resort and asked to present a multi-species bird show which incorporated birds being released from the hotel tower roof 36 stories high. The hotel wanted a purely entertaining show while Joe preferred to maintain the informative depth. The result was a new style of educationally entertaining program mixed with comedy and highly impacting bird routines. The audiences came for the comedy and then stayed to hear the conservation messages. Millions of visitors from all over the world took home memories of the birds they had unexpectantly learned so much about while in Las Vegas. This perfectly blended mixture of education and entertainment, along with the latest positive reinforcement, science-based approaches to training is what sets our shows apart from traditional zoo-like programs. The 15 year run at the Tropicana helped evolve the show into a larger than life, zoo-scale yet portable bird show which could be made available to zoos, parks, and aquariums throughout the United States and beyond.
Today, shows are just one benefit of the Birds n Beasts Inc. level of advanced animal training. As zoos require more behavioral management programs, and general public demands kinder and gentler approaches to animal care and husbandry, Birds n Beasts Inc. is expanding to meet their needs. With a growing staff comprising a huge variety of skills from psychology to biology, welding to electronics, and conservation to multi-media technologies, BnB now provides everything from consulting to staff training to turn-key show operations and can help any facility improve it’s presentation and interpretation abilities while staying within their budgets. Although staff and technology helps to reach more facilities, connecting animals to humans continues to be BnB’s foremost priority. In many cases a smaller staff with fresh new concepts is a better and more economical choice for interpretive successes.