Feeding time in the wetlands

I’ve lived in the Pittsburgh area for years and years, and the National Aviary is in Pittsburgh, and I like birds. You’d think I’d be visiting there a few times a year. But no, yesterday I visited for the first time. I seem to go to museums and zoos and other interesting places only when friends are visiting from out of town — in this case, my friends Tim and Sharon and their two daughters.

We had a lovely time, wandering around the habitats and having birds fly right by our faces, holding up worms in our hands so the birds could swoop down and gobble them up. The girls climbed around the penguin area, and through the tank glass they seemed to be part of the exhibit themselves, a particularly energetic species of smiling bird.

I’m not sure what species of bird I have pictured above, but he was a charming fellow who starred in the Wetlands Feeding event. When the event started, he flew down to perch on the railing by the staff member in charge, patiently waiting his turn while other, smaller birds flitted around and grabbed up grubs. He then pulled worms out of the closed fist of an audience member, demonstrating how in the wild he’d big them out of mud. After the show, he hung around and let us take photos, like a star indulging his fans.