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|
|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 Hornbill, Buckeroos rhinoceros|
|Buff-breasted Bustard, Euphodotis gindiana|
|Cattle Egret, Bibulous ibis|
|Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Halcyon malimbica|
|Golden-breasted Starling, Lamprotornis regis|
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.
You leave this large space and enter the last habitat with a theme of North American songbirds.
|Ringed Teal, Callonetta Leucophrys|
|Ringed Teal, Callonetta Leucophrys (male)|
|Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Goura victoria|
|Green-Romped Toucanet, Aulacorhynchus haematopygus|