Aviary (2)

On Saturday, after picking up Eva at the airport, we spent several hours at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. My niece’s name has the Spanish pronunciation rather than the English, so it made a certain kind of poetic sense to take Eva to the Aviary. This is the second of two posts.

great argus pheasant

Resplendent in his cloak of a thousand eyes, trailed by a royal train five times the length of his body, the great Argus pheasant is reduced to beggary by an insatiable craving for grapes.

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wattled curassow

The curly head of the curassow draws many admiring fingers to her sleek back, which is speckled white from the most recent aerial bombardment. She seems equally indifferent to all blandishments.

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Nicobar pigeon

“Dead as a Dodo” describes so many far-flung members of the pigeon tribe — quintessential strange birds, castaways on remote islands who went native and forgot the predatory ways of the real world. The Nicobar pigeon nests within easy reach of the walkway. When did we start thinking that “wild” was synonymous with “fearful”?

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Victoria crowned pigeon

Every thing the Victoria crowned pigeon did, every pose he struck, was photogenic. Even standing in his feeding pan and crapping into his food, he looked magnificent. I got so bored of looking at my pictures of him, I almost decided not to post one at all.

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brown pelican

In the huge Rainforest of the Americas room, among so many brightly colored species, the pelican makes a convincing case for brown.

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feeding the pelican

An injury to his bill made this one incapable of feeding himself. His gullet is a large, moving target that the keeper finds nearly impossible to miss.

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red-crowned (Japanese) cranes

The total population of the Japanese crane, which symbolizes good fortune and longevity to a nation of 127 million people, is down to less than 2000 individuals. The National Aviary plays a critical role in its recovery, coordinating an effort by American zoos to send fertilized eggs to a nature reserve in eastern Siberia. When a keeper enters their compound to refill their food trough, she moves quickly, carries a sturdy, five-foot-tall shield and wears goggles to prevent the cranes from pecking out her eyes.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

5 Comments


  1. Even standing in his feeding pan and crapping into his food, he looked magnificent.”

    That’s quite an achievement. Not that I’ll be aspiring to attain the same standard, mind you.

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  2. Too bad pecking people’s eyes out aren’t quite enough to save the cranes from larger predations. Love the first photo, and the 2nd one’s ‘do. Fabulous.

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  3. Nice set, my fav is the first, there is something that you can read into the body language of the human being and the facial expression on the pheasant’s face that seems to communicate the two are sharing some common down time or maybe people watching. Maybe the pheasant is telling the Aviary employee, “Look at that weird dude with the camera! Does he think we are in a zoo or something?”

    Reply

  4. All the days and weeks and months we spent in Pgh. and we never made it to the aviary.
    But we sure did enjoy visits to the Carnegie and, especially, the Phipps Conservatory. I used to walk over there from UPMC just to take a little break from sitting around the hospital.

    Reply

  5. collllllllllllllllllllllllllllllliflower

    Reply

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