Wildlife Wednesday: National Aviary

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We apologize for the hiatus, the lilburghers and dad have been adjusting to a new schedule and haven’t been able to do much exploring lately. Sometimes there are ways to explore and discover critters without actually going out in the wild. One of our favorite ways to observe the wonders of nature is to visit the National Aviary! Last week I took the twincesses for an impromptu trip while we waited to pick mommy up from work. Adorableness ensued.

Upon arrival, we were informed that they would be bringing a baby flamingo out to the rose garden in just a few minutes. I had not even heard about the flamingo chicks so this was an amazing surprise! The little flamingo was so adorably awkward as he ran right past us. It was incredible to watch the bond between the chick and it’s caretaker. He followed the man everywhere he went and constantly made little squawking noises to make sure his “parent” knew where he was. If you would like to see the baby flamingos, be sure to visit the National Aviary daily at 10:30am and 2:00pm for their free “Flamingo chick talk”. You can also pay to make a reservation and get a more personal, hands-on experience.

As we walked back inside, I had this strange sense that we were being watched. As we rounded the corner into the Main Hall, we were immediately confronted by an enormous raptor! The Eurasian Eagle Owl is said to be the largest owl species in the world, and I can see why. His intense stare, fearsome talons, and impressive 6 and a half foot wingspan give him the rule of the roost.

Our next stop turned out to be the girls’ favorite exhibit; the penguins!

The twins could not hold back their excitement, and one penguin in particular, named Tribby,  seemed to take a liking to the them.

Ava and Isla ran back and forth, giggling and screaming, trying to hug and kiss the amazing aquatic birds as they danced through the water. My heart swelled watching the joy overflow from their lil bodies. You can’t help but smile watching them, it is contagious.

Inside is a statue of a penguin, which is a habitual photo op for all of our kids. We spent about 15 minutes with the girls running up to it, hugging it and yelling “cheese”, then running away before I could take a picture. This whole spectacle proved quite amusing to our fellow aviary patrons, but I finally got one.

Next up was the Wetlands, where we watched the baby flamingo’s future flock frolicking (say that five times fast!) in the shallows, some sleepy pelicans, and a Roseate spoonbill nesting high up in the trees. As we traveled through the Wetlands, Isla noticed that we had picked up a tail…Joanie, the resident Wattled Curassow decided to follow us around. She was nice enough to stop and pose for us.

As we bid farewell to Joanie, the grasslands awaited with it’s exciting immersive atmosphere. This may be the smallest area of the aviary, but it is one of my favorites. I’ve found it to be one of the best rooms to photograph the birds, but you have to stay alert because these little aviators love to buzz your tower. One of my favorite birds here is the absolutely stunning Gouldian Finch!

Our final stop was the rainforest. One of the most impressive birds in this exhibit has to be the Malayan Great Argus. If you are lucky enough to witness it’s amazing display, you will understand why. We were not that lucky on this trip but we did get to see the big kids’ favorite bird. The Rhinoceros Hornbill has been a go-to for Ari and Ev since they were little. The male often “talks” to them, and he had a lot to say on this day.

We love getting out to the National Aviary whenever we can. I recommend everyone take a break from their day sometime and check out this peaceful little oasis nestled in the heart of our great city.

If you have been to the National Aviary and have a fun experience to share or suggestions for our next trip, please leave us a comment. Until next time, happy herping, ya’ll!

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