Day 22 of Photography: Tracy Aviary
So do you remember this stud from yesterday?
Well, he's not the only one I fell in love with. Hold on, kiddos, this picture unloading is a biggie.
My friend Taira took me out on a date to the Tracy Aviary. Taira is an alluring siren with fantastic purple hair, so I was compelled to follow her exquisite song. Typically, I am not one for zoos and avoid them at all cost. At the same time, I am an artist who draws a lot of animals; I have a hard time not taking an opportunity to get my own reference pictures and learning about the creatures.
We saw pelicans and the milky eagle owl immediately, but then moved to the birds of prey, the tropical birds, and then back to the owls. All of the creatures had their breeding displays on, with a variety of beak bumps and bright colors to attract eyes and especially, mates.
One thing that amazed me about the adeventure was the space the birds had. Not only did they have the outdoor spaces but spacious indoor cages. I felt like the Tracy Aviary went out of their way to make their birds as comfortable as possible. Growing up, I got to visit all sorts of zoos and aquariums in the United States, and after you get over the animals, you start to wonder about their enclosures. Zoo animals never have a whole lot of space to move around in. It's not perfect but, the Tracy Aviary is one of the best I've ever been to.
We walked outside and had the opportunity to go into a large outdoor enclosure. While sitting in an open cage, this girl came up and began, as Taira called it, "Vogue-ing" for me. She was just drying out her feathers, but it seemed like she was just putting on the most magical display of wing stretching for the camera.
After we spent some time with her, we moved onto a tropical indoor area where most of the birds just flew about in a very humid dome.
I was reminded why I dislike flamingos: they smell terrible.
But, I also got to be reminded why I absolutely ADORE burrowing owls and their frowny faces.
The "squee". All of the "squee".
These two did not appreciate my photographic shenanigans nor my excited squeals.
The Aviary did have some open, non caged ponds and I assume some of the ducks could come and go as they please. Maybe not these fancy ducks,
but there was a family of mallards that definitely moved in on their own accord.
They were hanging out beside a bridge near the exit, and were much more shy about people compared to the other ducks.
I only managed to get a shot of one of the ducklings before they disappeared below the bridge.
While enthralled with seeing wild creatures up close, it's easy to forget that these creatures weren't meant to be caged. Even photographing most of these birds required a great deal of positioning to avoid cages, reflections, and bars. Several birds in zoos have their wings damaged by circumstance or feathers trimmed by humans to keep them grounded. Some birds were specially bred, hand fed by humans who cared deeply, and have only been treated with kindness. Either way, birds' natural habitats are being destroyed and we are seeing less and less of some species of birds in the wild. More and more, the only way to see these creatures are in zoos.
I've always said there is nothing sadder in the world than a caged bird.
I hope this isn't what will be left of them.
Keywords: 100 days of photography, alexanna, aviary, bird, birds, black, burrowing, duckling, mallard, owl, pelican, photography, pond, tracy, tropics, tucan, wonder, zoo
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