Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Pittsburgh Aviary blowout! installment 1

As I mentioned on Friday, I went to Pittsburgh (of all places for a Dallas Cowboys fan to go on Super Bowl weekend!) with Gretchen. We had a great time, and I have to give a shout-out to her parents for putting us up. They threw one heck of a party, and we had a great time. We had breakfast at local legend Isaly's (pronounced like Eisley's) and, despite my Cowboys cap, no one spit in my food! We also went shopping around (including a visit to Half-Price Books), and there's one thing that bears noting: I probably saw fewer than ten people all weekend (not counting me) who DIDN'T have Steelers gear on. It was admirable (and just a little disgusting) to see such ardent fans.

On Saturday, we went to the National Aviary and had a blast! It's my first visit ever to an aviary (although I did see some bird exhibits at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX, circa 1978 or so), and I wasn't disappointed. Because there were so many great birds to photograph, I'm going to divide this post up into a couple or three posts. The first installment follows.

Our first stop was the Wetlands room, a huge space with bleachers where we sat and watched a guy feeding the birds. I got to feed a smelly little smelt to an Inca Tern, who flew by and picked it right out of my hand!
This Guira Cuckoo sat over us pretty much the whole time but never pooped on us. Thanks, Cuckoo!
Purple-throated Fruitcrow--check out that beautiful throat! It's really more of a maroon, I think.

I really liked this crow-like bird, a Crested Oropendola; note his beautiful blue eyes and his crossed bill! It looked like it had just grown too long and needed to be trimmed or filed down or something.

This is a Black-faced Tanager. Some of the birds would come down onto the fence/rail, but some just stayed hidden in the trees. This guy knew where the food was and stayed up front.

This Hamerkop was losing a feather, and boy did I want it! but I left him alone. It wasn't the first time I'd be tempted to steal a feather that had been discarded by a bird, but I took the high road and left them where they lay. sigh.

No idea what this bird was, but the best picture I could get was this one of his badonk. Oh well. I tried looking on the Aviary's Web site but couldn't find him. Anyone? Science Chimp?

Some kind of tanager, maybe? Again, couldn't find him on the Web site. I tried Brazilian Tanager, but they are all red without so the black belly. Still--what a beautiful bird. I like his red legs.

This pretty yellow parrot with green wingtips was quite the showman. I wish I could remember (or find) what kind of bird he is!

The Aviary's Web site said they had only Brown Pelicans, but this guy looks more gray to me.

The Screaming Piha, according to our Aviary tour guide, has the loudest cry of any bird. He had us hear the bird's "inside voice," and I could feel my fillings vibrating. I just liked how expressive his little face was. He looks like he's dreaming of faraway lands...

...and faraway skies.

This is a Wattled Curassow named Ramon. The star attraction of the exhbit was his girlfriend Joanie, but she was moving around too much to photograph. Ramon just chilled on the fence.

Mr. and Ms. Inca Tern, with Mr. Inca Tern showing off his impressive eyelashes.

They had lots of American Flamingos and Roseated Spoonbills, and even some Scarlet Ibises, though none of my individual spoonbill pics came out well at all. They also had some Ruddy Ducks already in breeding clothes, complete with blue bills, but my pics of them came out crappy too. Here's a broader view of all the pinkish-orange birds, plus a Ruddy Duck, plus a Cuban Tree Duck! (click for huge) There's even a Double-crested Cormorant in there!

At one point, they turned on the "rain" and these flamingos started dancin' crazy all over the place!tee hee!

This bird, a Bali Minah, is now extinct in the wild, thanks to the Balinese people making it a status symbol to own one. I didn't get a great pic of it, but it was a beautiful bird.

On our way out of the wetlands room, these Spectacled Owls gave us the hairy eyeball. If he hadn't been in a cage, I'm sure he would've pecked my eyes out!

Tomorrow: we wander through the smaller exhibits, feed some lorikeets, and enter the Tropical Rainforest room.


Lynne said...

Yep- that Spectacled Owl was definitely thinking about how to get at your eyes to snatch them. That's what monkeys are always thinking too.

It sounds like you had blast.

KGMom said...

Totally cool.
Do these birds count as lifers even in captivity? Not trying to be a smart ass, I really don't know.

bruss1510 said...

gorgeous birds - you're very lucky to get to see them - and to escape without getting crucified by Steelers fans!


Owlman said...

Those Spectacled Owls are amazing looking!

KatDoc said...

Lots of fun! I especially like the owls. Hey, for your shy bird with the rear-end view, could it be a red-crested Cardinal? It sort of looks like the bird in this post from Kenn & Kim Kaufman:



PS for Donna: Technically, you can't count birds in zoos, aviaries, rehab/education birds, etc., although people keep telling me "It's your list and you can count whatever you want." Personally, I don't count captive birds, but I still like looking at them.


Lisa said...

Thank you for taking us along! Gorgeous birds, fabulous pix. And a bird badonk!

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

GReat shots! Thanks for sharing.

FranIAm said...

Oh I so love this post - starting with that fab photo of you at the top.

I feel like I got to join you on this trip, thank you so much!!!

It is bird-ilicous!!

Mel said...

An Inca Tern!!! They are beautiful in the rocks by the Pacific Ocean.

I want to go to that place too!!! So cool!!!

dguzman said...

Lynne--monkeys too???

Donna--No, they don't count as lifers to me. But I was thrilled to see them all the same!

Beth--I know!

Owlman--I wish the little cage bars weren't visible.

Katdoc--you're such a brain about birds! (I won't call you a bird brain, though!) I'll check that link--thanks! And I agree on the captive birds not being countable. You'd have to go to those places and see them in the wild, I think.

Lisa--glad you enjoyed--more is on the way!

Dr Monkey--thanks! Like when you took us to that grocery store--it was like I was there with you!

Fran--you're so sweet. Glad you enjoyed it!

Mel--wow, you've seen them in the wild!? You're so awesome.

spiny said...

Hello - I'd love to use one of your photos in a commercial project. I'd be really grateful if you could contact me via my blog so I can ask you properly :).

theautumnsnow said...

the bird with the rump view is a red-headed woodpecker.

Anonymous said...

hey just wanted to let you know the yellow parrot is a conure species called queen of bavaria.

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Caz said...

Hi :) The pretty yellow parrot is a "Golden Conure" Here is the link to the wikipedia Article.

Link - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Conure