For our first off campus animal experience of the year, I like to take our new Animal Welfare Club members to visit the National Aviary. Its close, its affordable, its highly educational, and the aviary does a terrific job of getting all my members interested and involved with the animals. I like that everyone gets their hands on a bird. Theres no better way to get people interested than to let them actually interact with them.
So, on Saturday we all met and hiked over to the North Side. My mom and my sister were recruited into our group due to our sudden drop in numbers, so they met us and walked over with us. I like making everyone walk because it saves money, saves gas, and lets everyone get a chance to walk through the city and see everything as well as talk to each other. And soon we were there!!
I rushed everyone to the first feeding, as I usually do, because I like getting everyone involved as fast as possible. I find that when I suggest the aviary, I get a lot of deep sighs and dragged feet. Unfortunately, its usually overshadowed by the much more well known Pittsburgh Zoo. However, once I get everyone there and get them all going, they seem to enjoy it a lot more. Even though the zoo has more animals, the aviary definately has more interactive possibilities. Here are some my members feeding some rainforest birds!
We then rushed to get in line to feed the lories. Feeding the lories is probably my favorite thing, because it means I get to get my picture taken with exotic birds on me! Even after owning my own parrots, I still feel like a little kid at Christmas when all the Bella sized colorful parrots begin flocking to me. I think it has something pyschologically to do with the idea that ‘they like me! they like me!’, not just ‘they want the nector’.
Everyone had some time to roam and explore before we took our Training 101 class. I was super excited about taking a bird related class because, well, I’m a weirdo. I very much so enjoyed the class, and learned a lot that I feel will help me when I’m trying to train stubborn Bella. I have yet to find something that will motivate that conure. We also got to meet the beautiful Gonzo, a yellow naped amazon, who was hilarious. She reminded me of another little green bird that likes to growl and make her handler a liar. . . We also played a game where we made Chris be a bird that we had to train. Here we are trying to train Chris to do jumping jacks.
After our class, we followed our instructor over for the Wings! show. I had to choose between Wings and the skydeck, and even though I’ve never seen the skydeck and I know Lance was furious at me for not choosing the skydeck, I felt like Wings was more general for all of our members and would be a good ambassador to the bird world. As I predicted, everyone was amazed and most of my members flooded the stage to donate money to saving the birds.
For the first trip of the year, it was a great start! I think all my members who went enjoyed themselves and I think they are all excited for the rest of the year and the things we have coming!