Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tiny feet on my hand - The National Aviary

Since I am coming to Pittsburgh I wanted to go to the National Aviary on the North Side, but never made it. Once I had even already booked a penguin connection, but had to cancel because we were stuck in traffic and would not have made it in time. This spring we did not book anything in advance, but we resisted to have a lazy, rainy Sunday at home and got out of the house relatively early to finally visit the National Aviary

As you can guess the institution is focussed on feathered friends. You walk through halls with different climate zones and wherever it is possible the birds are flying around free - something I absolutely loved. The Aviary also offers a lot of interactive elements. You can go to some of the feedings and get in contact with the birds, watch one of the shows, where the staff explains a lot about the animals they take care of, or you can book connections, where in a controlled situation (better for  the birds!) a small group of visitors can meet some of the Aviary residents like the penguins, flamingos or parrots.

Interesting enough lots of Americans seem to be terrified by birds. A decent percentage of our local friends said "Brrrrr - thank you, but NO thanks." when we asked if they wanted to come with us to the National Aviary and I could witness lots of scared parents failing to make straight and tough faces walking through the free flight halls, where indeed .... birds are crossing.

By the  time we arrived the lorikeet feeding was on the schedule and I could not wait to attend. We had budgies when we were kids and my sister still does have a pair of  them. I do not have any pets at home simply because my apartment is small and I am  traveling too often and too long to properly take care of any feathered or furry roommates. But when I got my cup of nectar and the first bird landed on my hands little warm feets ahead I realized that I really, reall miss this. So one day when things in my life may slow down a bit and I have enough space to give the little ones enough and decent room to live and fly, I might go back to having birds. They are gorgeous creatures!

This is my happy hand and a new friend of mine:

Next stop was another obvious highlight. THE PENGUINS!  (It is btw pretty amazing that practically EVERYBODY visiting the Aviary shows up in Pens gear - and so did we :).)

Inside the Aviary it was mostly too dark for Gabrijela to make decent polaroids, but never the less she made the shot of the day. Penguins totally rock - on ice and under water!

Twice a day you have also the chance to have a look at this handsome young lady - the an Eurasian Eagle Owlet. Her parents are the National Aviary's owls X named for the owl X on Mister Rogers Neighborhood and her partner Dumbledore.

She is already as bigger than most of the parrots - although the blue one here is HUGE

Bird sleeping positions are always an impressive act of balance.

These two little ones were so cute with each other.

I would have loved  to play with most of the birds, but not so much with these big, big guys.

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