PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side has a new ambassador named Autumn.
“Golden Eagles are one of two eagles that are found in the United States. We have Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles,” says Cathy Schlott of the National Aviary.
The 4-year-old female Golden Eagle was found in the wild with a significant wing injury. There was enough muscle damage to her wing that she can no longer hunt, but her razor-like talons work just fine.
“Golden Eagles actually have a stronger grip — even than bald eagles,” says Schlott. “They have a lot of power in their feet. That’s why they are able to take down such large prey.”
Autumn is part of the Aviary’s educational rotation called Eagle Talks that are open to people at the Aviary each day at 11:30 a.m. It took about one year of training to get Autumn ready for her new job.
“We slowly start to introduce more people. For this, we introduced people with cameras walking around, and we just slowly get her used to everything that she would encounter on a normal day,” says Schlott.
The Aviary also has a new display modeled after the Andean Mountains and some birds you don’t see very often in zoos.
“These birds are very rare birds,” says Dr. Pilar Fish, the Directory of Veterinary Medicine at the National Aviary. “We wanted to make sure that we were creating a very detailed lush environment for them. I took a lot of though and planning to create every aspect of this clouded forest.”
There are two pairs of birds in the Andean display — including Capuchinbirds and a male and female Cock-of-the-Rock.
Fish says patrons will be in for a surprise the first time they see the birds. “I think the first thing that when people see the male Cock-of-the-Rock is they are just in awe of his beautiful orange feathers. He is an extraordinarily exquisite bird.”
To mirror the mountain habitat, a company from Indiana custom-made a tree complete with misters to mimic forest rainfall.
Fish says that also gives the birds room to roam. “These birds have ample space and activity. they have different branches and levels and plants and we actually watch them engage and interacting with all the little features of this custom designed exhibit.”
The Golden Eagle and the Andean Mountain display are both available to be seen at the Nation Aviary.