An outbreak of psittacosis related to a bird park occurred in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, Japan, during winter 2001. Seventeen cases of psittacosis (12 visitors, three staff, and two student interns) were confirmed. A cohort study was conducted among the park staff and students to determine the risk factors for the development of acute serologically confirmed psittacosis (SCP) infection. Being ‘bird staff’ had an increased risk of SCP infection (RR 3·96, 95% CI 1·48–10·58). Entering the staff building, where ill birds were maintained without proper isolation, was also associated with an increased risk of SCP infection (RR 3·61, 95% CI 1·03–12·6). Isolation of ill birds and quarantine measures were found to be insufficient. Dehumidifiers and a high-pressure water spray under a closed ventilation environment may have raised the concentration of Chlamydophila psittaci in the hothouses. Bird park staff and visitors should be educated about psittacosis.