Sunday, October 17, 2010

Birds and Things at the Zoo

I attended a birthday party at the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday. This has got to be the greatest idea for a birthday party ever! The food was good, the setting fabulous, and a zoo person brought around live animals for us to see and touch. It was lots of fun.

First up was this cute little Eastern Screech-owl, named Van Gogh because he only has one ear. Actually, he does have two ears; what we call "ears" are really only tufts of feathers. He is not a baby, he is a 3 year old adult. I never heard what happened to the feathers on the left side of his head. And no, we couldn't touch him.
Next was a Dwarf Rex rabbit. A Rex has fur like a chinchilla - all soft, downy undercoat, no outer guard hairs. Very soft!Some people got the shivers when the next animal was brought out to us - this little American Alligator. Isn't he the cutest?I liked him so much I had to include this close-up of his "smile."Finally, what I considered to be the coolest of the four critters - this armadillo.It looked just like a pillbug, all curled up so tightly. I would have loved to have held it. Even better would have been for her to put it down, so I could watch it trundle around the room.

As the party was winding down, I took the opportunity to wander around the zoo a little. I saw these flamingos outside on one side of the building which houses the Treetops party room
and got these Impressionist-style photos of the koi in the pond on the other side of the building.

Since there was only an hour before closing time, I was limited in how far I could go. I decided to check out the bird house, and found these guys waiting for me in a cage outside.The sign said that Kookaburras are members of the kingfisher family. When I read that, I thought, "Of course - that big head and huge bill are typical of kingfishers. Why hadn't I noticed that before?"

Inside, we had a wide variety of birds, including:

Rhinoceros Hornbill
Pesquet's Parrot
Louisiana HeronHarlequin Duck
King Penquins getting a meal
(with a Marconi's in the background)
and Least Auklet.
Trust me, that's what this is. The thing was more flitty than a kinglet. It never sat still - not on land or water.

There were more birds in the bird house, plus many more outside as well, but I wanted to end with this Mystery Duck.
I know it is not one of our native wild species, but couldn't decide if it was an exotic or some sort of hybrid. A "helpful" zoo guest told me, "I'm a duck hunter; that's a Hooded Merganser." I answered, "I'm a birder, and I've never seen a merganser that looked like that."

Anybody got an idea what this might be?


Kathie Brown said...

Kathi, I would find petting that little owl hard to resist. That comment by the hunter is hilarious. I don't know the duck species but I can make up a name. How about "Ghost-headed Cinnamon duck!"

littleorangeguy said...

That duck is indeed a hooded merganser. It just lost its hood is all!

Lois Evensen said...

Ah, the Cincinnati Zoo, one of our favorite places to capture images. So glad I found your blog.

Lois (also in Cincy)