Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The National Aviary is opening its rooftop Sky Deck this Saturday, weather permitting, where visitors at least 42” tall can watch African birds of prey flying free twice a day throughout the summer.
The Aviary is the only zoo in the U.S. to fly a massive martial eagle, appropriately named "Dillon", and it is the only zoo with black kites in its collection—six of whom swoop and dive to snatch chick feet out of the air with their talons.
Cathy Schlott, Manager of Animal Training, says to witness the birds flying free, exhibiting their wild behavior, gives people a breathtaking, awe-inspiring experience. Lanner falcons are being trained to pursue lures, but they won’t be ready this weekend because rain has delayed their progress. Schlott says the trainers wouldn't mind working in the rain, but birds will just sit in the trees if it's raining.