Associate Professor Lorenzo Crosta, Director of the University of Sydney’s Avian, Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital in Camden, has won the TJ Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year award from the Lafeber Company in the US.
Awarded on 1 October 2019, the prize recognises Associate Professor Crosta ’s outstanding veterinary work in advancing the quality of health care for companion birds.
Nominated by colleagues and students from around the world, Associate Professor Crosta was selected as the winner by an independent committee of members of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, based in the US, but a global professional organisation.
"Thank you to all the people who nominated me for this award, and to the Lafeber Company for giving me this honour. I was very emotional when I received the news that I was awarded this prestigious prize - I couldn’t really believe it!" said Associate Professor Crosta.
"What is very special to me is how worldwide this prize is - previous winners have come from north America, south America, Europe and Australia. It’s so important that Lafeber recognises people all over the world who are producing excellent avian medicine. I’m very honoured to be one of those."
"I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Ted Lafeber Senior personally when I was a very young Italian veterinarian, and he gave me a signed copy of his book."
Associate Professor Crosta always knew he would work with animals, but his interest in birds came when he was in his third year of his veterinary medicine degree and started breeding fancy pigeons.
"Since then, my interest for birds grew continuously, until they became the main interest of my professional life," said Associate Professor Crosta.
"I consider myself a very fortunate man: I stepped into avian medicine in the late 80s, so therefore I had the chance to play an active part in growing avian medicine over the last 30 years. It’s been an exciting 30 years - it’s an amazing gift to do your job and to love it for such a long time.
"I’ve seen and treated pet birds, birds of prey and breeding birds, but what I still find very exciting is working with zoo birds and studying the interaction of different species in a zoo setting. Therefore, deeper avian medicine applied to flocks of birds has always been my special focus."
He has had three main focuses in his career:
- working as a pet bird veterinarian, taking care of single cases in the practice
- consulting to zoos and breeding facilities, which allowed him to work with flocks of birds and on bird reproduction
- sharing his experience with students and younger colleagues.
"I think I manage to balance these three elements in my work. In the hospital in Camden, I take care of many companion birds - these patients have the typical lifestyle and medical problems of a pet. When I consult to zoos and breeding facilities - in the last six months, I’ve consulted in Australia, Italy, Brazil, Portugal and Singapore - I use a very different approach to the birds, as they have different experiences and issues," explained Associate Professor Crosta.
"When it comes to teaching, I enjoy sharing my varied experiences with students and early career practitioners who won’t have had the chance to see the huge number of different species, cases, presentations and problems I have seen in my many years of practice."
Dr TJ Lafeber
Dr TJ Lafeber was an American veterinarian recognised as a pioneer in companion bird medicine and the human-companion bird bond. His concern for the health and welfare of his avian patients led him to develop medical treatments, diagnostic techniques, and nutritionally balanced foods. Dr Lafeber’s lectures were infused with his caring demeanor and enthusiasm, inspiring students and veterinarians alike to advance the fledgling field of companion bird medicine.
Associate Professor David Phalen , also from the University of Sydney’s Avian, Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital in Camden, won the TJ Lafeber Avian Practitioner of the Year award in 2009.