Buff-Crested Bustard, and Friends

No food here, alas.  But I cannot resist posting these photos from yesterday’s trip to the McNeil Avian Center at the Philadelphia Zoo.

This guy’s a buff-crested bustard, and the strangeness of his appearance is outstripped only by the strangeness of the noise he makes.

Buff-Crested Bustard

And this guy — I don’t even know. But he was awfully friendly and liked having his picture taken.

McNeil Avian Center, Philadelphia Zoo

There’s something singularly magical about a zoo experience where there are no barriers between you and the animals. Even if it is limited to just a few birds.

Fowl is Fair

The residents of the McNeil Avian Center at the Philadelphia Zoo were particularly friendly on this visit.  It is an excellent exhibit, anyhow, in which most of the birds roam free with the guests, bobbing across the walkways and peering back at cameras with a kind of frank, birdie curiosity.  But today — perhaps because it was a winter weekday and the crowds were thin — the birds seemed in a posing mood.  Here are two, snapped from no more than an arm’s length away.

Fowl is Fair: Victoria Crowned Pidgeon
Victoria Crowned Pidgeon
Fowl is Fair: Ringed Teal
Ringed Teal (this was one happy duck.)

It’s neither food nor politics, but I thought you all might enjoy them, anyway.