Monday, March 13, 2017

Philadelphia Zoo Redux #5

I have to admit that I do love a good Aviary.  It feeds my fascination with birds and my patience.  When you love birds, you have to have patience--because they don't.  There are reasons that poets use words like flit when speaking of birds.  They are hyper-industrious and vigilant 9 species out of 10.  I've been the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.  Eeyh? (Shoulders raised in a gesture indicating "nothing special").  Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo had more than I've ever seen at a single zoo spread out in 5 locations and they were all fine, with the exception of the open portion of the one attached to the Jaguar exhibit--it was excellent!  Maryland Zoo in Baltimore has two--I really like their African themed aviary.  Both are completely outside, and so the birds are only displayed in the warmer seasons of the year.  The Smithsonian Zoo in DC has a very old aviary that is in the process of being redesigned.  I look forward to seeing what they do with it--the plans sound wonderful.  I've seen a lot of aviaries, and the McNeil Avian Center at the Philadelphia Zoo is one of my favorites!  It is home to a nice selection of species in ample and generous spaces.  Two of these habitats allow you be with the birds without any barriers.

The larger facade of the McNeil Avian Center's front
A statue depicting Penguins
The entrance
Entering the main lobby, you see the larger Aviary in front of you.
An interim habitat is the home of a pair of Rhinoceros Hornbill
Rhinoceros HornbillBuckeroos rhinoceros
The first room to the right is home to birds from the African savannah.  It's the first space where the birds are not kept from the public.
Buff-breasted Bustard, Euphodotis gindiana
This beautiful little bird, the Buff-breasted Bustard, has a call that is piercing and sonically loud!  It called out when I was in the main gallery, two rooms away, and it was impossible to ignore.
Cattle Egret, Bibulous ibis
I was focused on obtaining a decent picture of the Kingfisher, when all of a sudden I felt the presence of something very near to me.  With a start, I looked to my left and there was this beautiful Cattle Egret.
Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Halcyon malimbica
Golden-breasted Starling, Lamprotornis regis
I got a kick out of discovering that when I visited the Philadelphia Zoo back in 2012, and the McNeil Avian Center, I included a photo of a Golden-breasted Starling in my posts then, too!  Such a beautiful bird.

From this habitat, I visited a trio of spaces featuring various songbirds from Asia, Australia and Africa.  All of these birds are displayed behind a wire mesh barrier, making photography impossible.  From these I entered the largest habitat.  It houses 14 species without any barriers.  Catching pictures is a matter of luck given the frenetic nature of most birds so I only left with images of three of the species.
Ringed Teal, Callonetta Leucophrys
Ringed TealCallonetta Leucophrys (male)
Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Goura victoria
Green-Romped Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus haematopygus
You leave this large space and enter the last habitat with a theme of North American songbirds.

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