The National Aviary is still caring for our flock during this temporary closure.

You can support the National Aviary and the animals in our care during these uncertain times.

Donate to our Emergency Care Efforts today.

The National Aviary is still caring for our flock during this temporary closure.

You can support the National Aviary and the animals in our care during these uncertain times.

Donate to our Emergency Care Efforts today.

36-year-old Andean Condor has an Egg at the National Aviary


04/23/2020

Contact:

Megan Hinds, Marketing Manager

Phone: 607-316-2189 | Email: megan.hinds@aviary.org

 

36-year-old Andean Condor has an Egg at the National Aviary

Years after life-saving veterinary intervention, Lianni has a hopeful new beginning

(Pittsburgh, PA) April 23, 2020 – Despite what is happening in the world around them, nothing has changed for Andean Condors Lianni and Lurch.  Early this year, Lurch began a courtship display for Lianni, bowing to her, extending his wings, vocalizing and stomping his feet. Now, the pair are caring for a fertile egg, which could hatch in late May to early June. Lianni is a very special bird, and today, she is celebrating her 36th birthday. This milestone is particularly significant because Lianni once overcame a life-threatening illness through the National Aviary’s innovative veterinary treatment. Her dedicated team continues to care for her, her egg, and the more than 550 animals at the National Aviary during its closure. 

Lianni is a strong bird, not only because of her size and stature (condors can boast wingspans of 10 feet), but because she is now thriving after recovering from a difficult illness. In 2012, Lianni fell ill and extreme measures were needed to keep her alive.  She needed a blood transfusion, a procedure that had never before been done on a condor. A team mobilized to safely collect small samples of blood from 15 birds of prey, and a first-of-its-kind blood bank was established. Once enough compatible blood was collected, the procedure began. Lianni was too weak for anesthesia, so special equipment and an expert team held the massive bird during the transfusion to keep her safe and comfortable. The transfusion was a success, and Lianni was on the path toward recovery. Lianni continued to require daily care including heart medication and regular check-ups to keep her healthy. With this exceptional level of care, Lianni was able to heal.  She now lives a normal, active life.

 Today, April 23rd, Lianni is celebrating her 36th birthday. She’ll spend the day sitting on her precious egg, which she laid earlier this month. Her mate, Lurch, takes turns incubating the egg so Lianni can stretch her legs and take a bath. Food is brought in daily by a team of dedicated aviculturists who continue to work every day to provide Lianni and the entire flock at the National Aviary with exceptional care. If all goes well, the egg will hatch in early June, an exciting possibility during these difficult times.

 “Lianni is truly a special bird,” said Dr. Pilar Fish, Senior Director, Zoological Advancements and Avian Medicine, “She overcame so much, and seeing her enjoy her life in the National Aviary’s Condor Court habitat is a real treat. In fact, Condor Court is one habitat that the community can still safely see while we are closed since it’s visible from Arch Street. Passersby can see Lianni incubating her egg and enjoying other natural behaviors like sunning and bathing.”

Andean Condors are threatened throughout much of their range and are critically endangered in Ecuador. The National Aviary participates in a Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative breeding program designed to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable population of condors for generations into the future.  The National Aviary also conducts field conservation and education projects in Ecuador to support wild condor populations and best practices on husbandry in zoo settings. Through these programs, the National Aviary has helped to release four Andean Condors in Columbia to help boost their wild population.

Lianni is just one of more than 550 animals at the National Aviary whose lives have not changed amid this pandemic. They continue to nest, socialize and explore their habitats as they normally would. The birds continue to need individualized meals prepared daily. Some, like Lianni, require veterinary treatment and medication. Their habitats need regular cleaning. The essential staff at the National Aviary continue to work - in two alternating skeleton crews – to perform these important duties.

Without revenue from admissions, encounters, and facility rentals, the National Aviary is calling on the public to help support this care by making donations to Emergency Care Efforts sponsored by UPMC Health Plan.

Gifts made to the National Aviary now will be matched, thanks to generous sponsorships:

  • The National Aviary’s Emergency Care Efforts are sponsored by UPMC Health Plan, and every dollar raised for emergency relief will be matched, up to $25,000.
  • In Lianni’s honor, Weber Group is also generously matching gifts up to $2,500.

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About the National Aviary:

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated to birds. Located in Allegheny Commons Park on Pittsburgh’s historic Northside, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 550 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. For more information, visit www.aviary.org.

The National Aviary inspires respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.