National Aviary Prepares For Holiday Show

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Video on the big screen features a bright red bird, matching the words to “Ruby the Red Winged Macaw.”

It’s one of many parodies written by the National Aviary staff to go with their Holiday “Wings” show.

Meanwhile, the featured birds fly above the audience.

Training manager Cathy Schlott says, “We’ve taken popular holiday songs, but we’ve put a bird twist in them.”

After all, who could resist “Duck the Halls with Tour Webbed Feet,” as Cathy pushes a cart filled with mallards?

“I’m Dreaming of a White Chicken” is another favorite.

Bird trainer Julia Ecklar sings the lyrics.

But the star of the show, soon to make his first appearance on stage, is a snowy owl named Fleury. He takes after the Pittsburgh Penguins goalie.

Fleury responds to positive reinforcement.

But Cathy Schlott admits, “Owls aren’t known for their intelligence. But they’re very habitual. So you’ve just got to think of the behavior you want them to do, break it up into itsy-bitsy pieces, so the owls can understand it.”

So much for the “wise old owl” myth, but Fleury’s performance makes up for any shortcomings.

The Holiday bird show begins Friday at the National Aviary, continuing every day but Tuesday until January 2.

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