Thursday, February 05, 2009

Pittsburgh Aviary--installment 3

This is the final installment of my Aviary adventure with Baby G, who took all the photos of me feeding birds.

After feeding the lorikeets and seeing some beautiful birds in their small enclosures (including some amazing weaver birds that I couldn't get any pictures of that weren't blurry), we went to the Tropical Rainforest room for our last big feeding show.

This was Gretchen's favorite bird, William the Victoria Crowned Pigeon:Look at that crazy crest! And for a pigeon, he was HUGE--like chicken-sized. Here's where I have to confess: William lost a feather (see it on the sidewalk near his tail?), and I really wanted it. But despite the fact that it was lying there on the sidewalk, I didn't pick it up. Reason? Just as I was thinking, "look, he lost a feather! I WANT IT," the crew of the Aviary were having a discussion by walkie-talkie about whether they "give out" feathers, and the answer was NO. So I took this as a sign that I'd better not pick up that beautiful blue feather. sigh.

This is the best pic I could get of a Blue-bellied Roller, one of my favorite birds I saw that day. He's a member of the Kingfisher family, and his cry was kinda similar to that dry rattle our Kingfishers make. When he flew, he flashed these sky-blue underparts on his wings. Amazing.

This shimmery little blue bird didn't come out of the underbrush, and I can't ID him on their Web site. Anyone? Anyone?

Another lurker who never came out of the undergrowth; he just watched us the whole time as we sat on a bench about four feet away from him. No idea what kind of bird he is, though his little spotted breast reminds me of our thrushes.

This Hamerkop looked a lot like a heron to me, but he's not even related (according to the guy who presented the birds). They have a little patch of carpeting on this perch so that the bird gets used to landing on it; then when they want to weigh him, they bring in a scale with the same carpeting on it, and the bird jumps right on. Smart! The presenters made it a point to say they never force the birds to do anything; they ask them and make it easy for them to do what's necessary. No big tricks or anything--just flying around and being themselves, getting the occasional treat.

This Crested Wood Partridge (I think--that was the match I came up with) was another lurker who only emerged for a brief snack in this little enclosure.

Every time this African Jacana moved around, he did so with these very slow and deliberate steps--Gretchen said he looked like a little old man walking around.

I saw a few of these incredible birds flying all over the place, just waiting for their turn to feed:The guy asked for volunteers, and I quickly raised my hand. I then got to hold a palm-full of LIVE mealy worms, and this beautiful bird landed RIGHT ON MY HAND!Lynne commented in the last post that I seemed to have a grimace on my face when the Lorikeets were feeding while standing on my arm. I think it's my "holy freakin' moly, I'm holding a bird!" look.
I calmed down a little bit.
I wish I could tell you what kind of bird this is, but I just didn't catch it that day and I can't find them on the Aviary's Web site. Any guesses? Isn't he amazing, though? The male and female were just as brilliantly colored. Definitely my favorite bird of the day.

Some final pics, many of which are of birds I can't ID:
Is this a scarlet ibis?

Couldn't find this beauty on the Web site.

William, struttin' his stuff.


KGMom said...

I must admit--even though my son lives in Pittsburgh--I was completely unaware of the Aviary. Guess I will just have to check it out sometime!
Thanks for answering the life-list question (and Katdoc too). I can see why you couldn't count them--but, wow, would your list grow if you could!

Lynne said...

Too cool! I probably would have knocked people over to get to hold that bird on my hand.

KatDoc said...

This looks like a really fun place. I will have to try to visit sometime.

Couple of bird IDs for you:

"Yes" to the Scarlet Ibis, and the gorgeous bird in your hand is ...

a starling.

No lie, that is a Golden-breasted Starling, from Africa. You lucky duck!


Matty Boy said...

Are any of the brightly colored birds you couldn't ID Birds of Paradise? Just a guess.

NCmountainwoman said...

This has been an absolutely wonderful series! I have loved taking the trip with you and Gretchen.

Wonderful shot of the bird in the hand as well as the ones in the bushes.

dguzman said...

KGMom--indeed, the list would be world-wide! You've got to go to the aviary--it's small, but it's great.

Lynne--hee hee! I was so panicked that I had to concentrate and calm myself down.

Katdoc--you've got to visit! And thank you for the IDs!

Matty Boy--who knows!? There's a bunch of different birds of paradise--so could be!

NCMtnWoman--and you didn't even have to pay for gas! Glad you enjoyed the trip.

Earl Cootie said...

That was really cool. Seeing fancy birds on nature specials is okay, but seeing them on a regularly-visited blog makes it seem so much more real. (Hm. Wonder if we have anything like that up here. Time to hit the google, I guess.)

Anonymous said...

can you believe starlings are that spectactular. John O'Neill said starling would make great pets because they are not only beautiful but also are great mimics and can talk.