Director of City Parrots, an organisation that advocates the use of urban areas for the conservation of parrots.
Roelant did his master thesis on “helper at the nest behaviour” of the Yellow-eared Parrot in Colombia. After graduating he started studying naturalised parrot populations with his partner Grace. Their main focus was on a small population of Scarlet macaws that have been living in the Netherlands for over 30 years and 4 generations. This population is now sadly expired with only one male left.
Presently the focus has shifted to a Ph.D. project in collaboration with the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) at Leiden University, studying introduced Ring-necked parakeets and other urban parrot populations.
His main interests are the adaptational processes parrots undergo when colonising urban areas. And, why Parrots are so successful in cities and how this can benefit the conservation of this endangered avian class.
Throughout her childhood Grace loved birds. Beginning with her Grandmother’s canaries and her mother’s budgies, she was eventually captivated by parrots. While studying to become a veterinary technician, she did several interesting internships, including a big parrot sanctuary, parrot vet and pet clinics. She found a job at a pet and zoo veterinary clinic; Dierenkliniek Luten, Velp. There she attended to the wellbeing of the animals at Burgers Zoo and worked closely with conservation and reintroduction projects such as the Prezwalski horse, Otters and European Hamster.
Looking to increase her contact with parrots, Grace decided to volunteer for a Parrot and Parakeet welfare foundation, where she met Roelant.
While currently working at the Housing office at Leiden University, most of Grace’s spare time is devoted to city parrots: photographing urban parrots around the world; writing columns for (inter)national parrot magazines; and assisting with Roelant Jonker’s Ph.D. research project on urban parrots.