Visitors to the National Aviary this fall can experience the dreamlike world of Forests and come face to face with forest-dwelling species from around the world. Beginning September 8 and running through January 3, the National Aviary’s dynamic daily programs, many included with general admission, will introduce visitors to magnificent forest birds like a Great Argus Pheasant in the Tropical Rainforest and mysterious Barred Owls peering out from branches in their Condor Court habitat. Forests highlights the diverse species found in a variety of forests around the world and the important role of forests in sustaining life for people and wildlife alike. Timed-entry tickets and updated health and safety information are available at aviary.org.
“Forests is an exciting opportunity to explore some of the most biodiverse places on the planet right here in Pittsburgh! During this new season, National Aviary visitors will experience our thrilling immersive habitats and new programs that will introduce them to eagles, owls, pheasants, and other birds that are found in forests around the world,” says Cathy Schlott, Director of Animal Programs and Experiences at the National Aviary. “Thousands of bird species rely on forests for food, shelter, and to raise their young, and forests pay a critical role in supporting life on this planet. National Aviary visitors will learn what steps they can take to help forest birds and their habitats.”
Dynamic new daily programs included with admission offer guests exciting opportunities to see birds up close and learn about the adaptations that make them well suited for life in the forests. During Meet an Eagle or Forest Friend Sponsored by Giant Eagle, offered daily at 12 p.m., a National Aviary expert will introduce visitors to a forest-dwelling bird, offering the chance to see an impressive bird like a Golden Eagle or an Eastern Screech-owl up close and learn how the species depends on forests for food, shelter, and nesting. At 1 p.m. each day, visitors can catch a glimpse of a seldom-seen nighttime species, the Barred Owl, during a Barred Owl Talk Presented by Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, and find out how these gorgeous owls survive in forests around the country, including in Pittsburgh.
Visitors can venture through the National Aviary’s immersive habitats, where birds fly freely nearby, and see gorgeous forest-dwelling birds. Each day during the Forest’s Edge Feeding at 11:30 a.m. in the expansive Wetlands habitat, guests can watch as a National Aviary expert feeds the flock. They will experience the thrill of birds like the critically endangered Bali Myna, the eye-catching Plush-crested Jay, and gorgeous Snowy Egrets landing just feet away, and learn about the adaptations and conservation of these remarkable species. In the Tropical Rainforest, a large habitat with tall trees and dense greenery, guests have the chance to see their favorite birds up close, as well as species they may have never noticed before, during a Tropical Rainforest Feeding offered daily at 2 p.m. They may even catch a glimpse of Wookiee, a Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth who lives in the Tropical Rainforest along with nearly one hundred birds.
Animal Encounters with a sloth or an owl provide a chance to get even closer to a forest-dwelling friend. In an interactive Sloth Encounter, guests can spend time up close with a sloth and feed it some of its favorite foods like sweet potato or zucchini. Guests can even gently touch the sloth’s soft fur as they learn about the species’ unique adaptations, like long, curved nails, that enable them to hang out in the treetops in the rainforests of Central America.
In an Owl Encounter, participants hold out their gloved arm, allowing an owl to perch, as an expert explains the many adaptations of owls that help them thrive in forested environments. Interactive animal encounters include the of cost general admission tickets, making these up-close experiences a worthwhile upgrade for any visit. Proceeds support the National Aviary’s work to save birds and protect their habitats.
The health and safety of visitors, staff, and volunteers is always the National Aviary’s top priority. Visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase their timed-entry tickets in advance, and to find the latest information on the National Aviary’s safety policies at aviary.org.
Forests runs September 8 through January 3 at the National Aviary.