When I first heard that the Oregon Zoo was going to build a new exhibit and bring in new animals, I was excited! Then I learn that those animals would be birds. California Condors, to be specific. All I could think was, More birds? The Zoo already has enough birds for a small army... of... well, birds. Stop with the birds and bring in a panda, dangit!
I really like pandas.
But I also really like birds... now. It took me a while, but I eventually began to see how cool they are. The more I photographed birds, the more I realized that the Oregon Zoo's bird population is really spectacular. They have dozens of different kinds, some in their own exhibits, and some almost hidden and oft-overlooked. Perhaps because birds are not big and fuzzy wuzzy, sometimes zoogoers don't pay much attention to the little winged creatures. But this summer, I've been paying attention... and now I'm hoping I'll bring your attention to some of the feathery beings that call the Oregon Zoo "home."
When zoogoers think of birds at the Oregon Zoo, Lorikeet Landing probably comes quickly to mind. It's a beautiful area surrounded by lush plants and colorful, noisy Lories and Lorikeets. Currently, it is the only exhibit at the Zoo where people can lawfully feed animals ($1 buys you a cup of nectar that'll start to trickle down your arm if the birds don't drink it up within a few minutes.)
Sadly, the Lorikeets won't be at the Oregon Zoo much longer. The Zoo recently announced that the birds are moving to Florida and that their exhibit will be re-purposed. :(
Another location that is home to many birds at the Zoo is the Howard Vollum Aviary, located near the Rhino exhibit.
I sometimes bypass this building because it's a little warm and stuffy and has a mildly unpleasant smell. On the days I can overlook that, however, I find myself enchanted by the variety of birds. Each visit, I see different ones. Sometimes certain birds will be hiding; others will be too high up to see; others will be right there to pose for photos.
When in "Africa," keep an eye out for the Southern Ground Hornbills. It's neat to see how well they get along with the gazelles and giraffes.
One of my favorite "bird viewing" areas is African Rainforest Aviary. This one's easy to miss because it's on a loop that's off the beaten path. Definitely take a few extra minutes to discover what's in this area.
While the pink flamingoes might be this exhibit's biggest hit, many birds live here, including two types of ibises, three types of ducks, an a one-winged Hooded Vulture.
Do you think there can't possibly be any more birds at the Oregon Zoo? Think again -- and check out Part 2!
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