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Birds, Flora and Fauna - June 2012, Pittsburgh

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Introduction

On Sunday, June 3, we joined a tour sponsored by the Syracuse zoo on a bus trip to Pittsburgh. Over three days we visted the National Aviary, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens.


National Aviary, Pittsburg, Pa.

National Aviary, Pittsburg, Pa.
Aviary photos courtesy of Joyce W.

National Aviary, Pittsburg, Pa.

The National Aviary was a real treat. Our visit began up-close and personal with raptors, owls and seagulls flying over our heads on cue from staff. From the Sky Deck we watched Lanner falcons and Black kites snatch mouse morsels out of the sky on the fly. Though we tried our heads couldn't swivel fast enough to keep track of their comings and goings.

In the photo above Upper left, a charm of Long-tailed Finches, grassland birds native to Australia. Top center, moi, after the parrot has deposited the the dollar bill he conned me out of. Staff tells us this and a second trained parrot efficently remove $$$ from Visitors' wallets and purses. upper right, our friend Margie with a Wattled curassow native to the Amazon basin. The birds have become so accustomed to people a vistor can approach closely. Center right a Scarlet-headed Blackbird. Lower right an American kestral, the smallest North American falcon, waits on the arm of its' trainer for, what else, mouse morsels! Bottom left, having temporarily chased away a smaller bird a Yellow-rumped Cacique, a native of South America, picks at an apple. Lunch was cut short as the first bird retuned with reinforcement. Constant picking and tweaking by the little guys quickly chased the interloper away.


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Pittsburgh Zoo - African Savanah

Pittsburgh Zoo - African Savanah

Pittsburgh Zoo - African Savanah

In the photo above, upper left, a Dama Gazelle surrounded by a herd of Springbok. Upper right, Mel, a male Masai giraffe. During our behind the scene tour I scratched his nose and feed him carrots. Lower right, an African elephant. Lower left, a Ostritch. Two Red Wing blackbirds constantly harrased it, landing on it's back tweaking its' skin, protecting their nests. The Ostrich was left only a small patch of Savanah to call its' own.


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Pittsburgh Zoo - Asian Forest

PittsburgH Zoo - Asian Forest

Pittsburgh Zoo - Asian Forest


In the photo above, top, Amur Tiger doing what cats do, napping. Lower right, Flamingos Living in the open, no enclosure, clipped wings kept them from wandering off. Lower left, an Amur leopard. In the wild the cat is almost extinct with less than 50 individuals known to exist.

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Pittsburgh Zoo - PPG Aquarium

PittsburgH Zoo - PPG Aquarium

Pittsburgh Zoo - PPG Aquarium

In the photo above, upper right, a tunnel of high strength plastic provides an unusual and spectacular view of the Polar Bear habitat. While lumbering on land the bears are graceful, bottom center, in water. Lower right, an African Penguin turns the tables and watches the two legged animals from its' home in Penquin Point . Upper left Sand Tiger sharks swim menicalingly by. Lower left, a Koi pond.


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Phipps Conservatory - Palm Court

Phipps Conservatory - Palm Court

Phipps Conservatory- Palm Court

We visited the Phipps Conservatory on the final day. After a behind the scenes tour of the greenhouses we were left free to wander on our own. The Conservatory had sponsored an exhibit of art glass designed by Dale Chihuly. After the exhibit closed the conservatory bought several pieces now displayed in the Palm Court.


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Phipps Conservatory - Orchids

RoomPhipps Conservatory - Orchid Room

Phipps Conservatory - Orchid Room

A guide told us we could see every room of the conservatory by simply turning right as we walked along. Good theory though it suffered in practice. Fortunately before becoming hopelessly lost we entered the Orchid Room. The photo collage above only begins to show the variety of forms we enjoyed.


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Updated:November 18, 2014