Year-round, Tracy Aviary offers the unscheduled, informal “roaming encounters,” where you can meet birds like this green-winged macaw.
This summer, imagine rounding a corner to come face-to-feathers with a Painted Stork or a couple of adorable White-faced Whistling ducks. At Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, Utah, these, and other birds from the bird show ambassador team, could be strolling, waddling, or zipping past you at any moment during one of these informal, enriching encounters.
“Although I enjoy all the different experiences we offer at Tracy Aviary, I have to say I think my favorite are our roaming encounters,?said Curator of Bird Training and Education Programs at Tracy Aviary, Helen Dishaw,.
Since these encounters are not scheduled and differ on a daily basis, guests are treated to something unanticipated and unique each and every time they visit. The added bonus is these informal encounters are not only extremely rewarding for the visitors, but also for the trainers and birds.
“At any given moment at Tracy Aviary, an Aplomado Falcon might suddenly fly into the midst of your family as you enjoy a stroll through the park. A small flock of Patagonian Burrowing Parrots might engage in a race across the lawn with a group of children,?Dishaw said. “You just never know what to expect next, but you can be sure it will help you create a lasting memory!?lt;/span>
Dishaw has been working with birds for 15 years and especially enjoys working with vultures. “My favorite bird of all time is a vulture ?an Andean Condor that I work with currently,?Dishaw said. “Vultures are some of the most misunderstood and under appreciated creatures on our planet, and they are far more intelligent and personable than people realize.?
She also likes working with hornbills. “We are fortunate to have a Wreathed Hornbill, a Wrinkled Hornbill, and a Northern Ground Hornbill in our bird show ambassador? collection,?she said.
Year-round, Tracy Aviary offers the unscheduled, informal “roaming encounters,” where you can meet birds like this Andean Condor.
She says that while she loves all birds, every species she works with brings new joys and challenges. While the bird species she trains differ in learning styles and the speed at which they learn new behaviors, she mentioned one behavior that is quite an involved learning process for the majority of them.
“One of the generally most involved to train, and also challenging to maintain, is training birds to fly in a loop,?she says. “It? not so much that it? hard ?even the most complex behaviors can be trained if you break them down into small enough approximations ?but it takes a lot of consistent and clear communication and patience, on part of the trainer and the bird, to help the bird understand it needs to fly in a circle and not take the most direct straight line flight from point A to point B.?Every training experience is unique, she added.
During the summer, Tracy Aviary has free-flight outdoor bird shows in their Bird Show Amphitheater as well as other flight demonstrations throughout the grounds. During the winter they offer indoor bird shows in their visitor center.
Year-round, they offer the unscheduled, informal “roaming encounters.?On any day you could see macaws and other parrots, owls, falcons, ducks, storks, vultures, hornbills, corvids and more.
At scheduled times, guests can also participate in bird feeding opportunities, such as with their American White Pelicans or sun conure flock. “We also have daily keeper talks and public tours that are free with admission,?Dishaw said. All the programs, shows, and demos offer different experiences ?for example the outdoor shows contain more spectacular and bigger flights, whereas the indoor shows offer a more up-close experience with the birds, and the roaming encounters give guests a really personal one-on-one encounter.
Tracy Aviary offers the unscheduled, informal “roaming encounters,” where you can meet birds like this Northern Ground Hornbill.
With more than 400 individual birds representing more than 125 different species, if you like birds, Tracy Aviary should make it on your summer vacation schedule. Their mission is to “Inspire curiosity and caring for birds and nature through education and conservation?and they work hard to meet that mission every day, with every guest, through these unique experiences. Tracy Aviary is also a botanical garden, making it a great trip for birders and photographers alike. The grounds are beautiful and offer a relaxing and tranquil place to spend a few hours enjoying the beauty of birds and nature. The shows and up-close encounters are different every day, so each visit is a unique experience.
And if all that wasn? enough, Tracy Aviary is the only place in the country (maybe even the world) where you can go for a walk with a condor ?and that is a treat that everyone should have on their bucket list to do at least once in their lifetime. Imagine explaining to your friends and family how an Andean Condor photobombed your selfie as you relaxed under one of the cottonwoods at Tracy Aviary.
Want somewhere else to go to? Check out: #TravelTuesday: Paradise Wildlife Park