Sunday, December 29, 2013

Two buck fruit cup...

I paid two US dollar for this fruit cup.
Yes, that was all the fruit I got for my money.
Believe me when I tell you: 
It was the best fruit cup I think I have ever had.
This fruit cup...
had the power to bring me...
flying rainbows.

How cool is that???

As part of my on going 12 Days of Christmas celebration, I decided I would finally get around to going to our Tracy Aviary for a "Feed the Sun Conures" adventure.
I own an Aviary Pass, otherwise the feeding time would have cost me $3 and an admission fee of $7.
Which would have still been a bargain if you ask me...

I had seen the enclosure a few winter's back when there were about 20 conures being fed.
This day there were only eight.

The bird keeper gave a short lecture about the do's and don't of feeding the conures first:
Watch were you step as the birds may land on the ground.
Don't try to snuggle or pet them.

She explained that this was the normal breeding season for the birds so they are behaving very territorial right now.
Six of the birds would not be coming out for feeding because they were in "Birdy Time Out" for being too aggressive.

The birds sort themselves into three levels; an Alpha bird level, and a bottom of the pecking order level and then there are the middle level birds that are fighting to climb up the pecking order.

The birds are named either a color or a number.
I think this was Purple.

(And no Picasa, it wasn't snowing!  But thanks for the fun unasked for snowflakes addition to my photo!)

It was really hard not to want to pet the birds.
Tracy Aviary has several "bird encounter" places where one is in the same space as the birds.
Horrifically, on more than one occasion, people have reached to pet a bird and either because of a reflex reaction to the bird movement or because of a sick nature, people have killed birds.
The "No Touching or Petting" helps to keep that from happening.

The birds tended to pick out one piece of fruit, take one bite, then drop it.
The keeper told me about how there was a wild flock that formed from a released captive conure pair.
The flock settled into a farming area and drove the fruit farmers nuts by taking exactly one bite out of every piece of ripe fruit.

The bottom of the pecking order birds waited until my Alpha bird buddy was finished eating before flying in for their meal time.

Three at a time!

Then down to two.

I absolutely LOVED this!

Up to eight people can be in the enclosure feeding birds at any one time.
I was with a young "uncle" who was spending some time with his niece.
Kind of hard to tell what made him smile  more:
the birds or seeing his niece smile!
Someday...can't wait to do this with Luke.

That smile!

See what I mean about a flying rainbow?

After the birds had eaten they flew back inside their warm housing area which is full of bird toys and cages.
(And where hopefully the time out birds are readjusting their attitudes...)

Just so you know:
They do bird feeding three times a day, 7 days a week.
There is also a pelican feeding once a day, which I got to do on Christmas Eve a few years back.
And...there is an option to go inside of cages with a keeper to do bird photography.
Oh yeah...sign me up real soon!

I spent about an hour walking around the Aviary before I fed the conures.
The mallard ducks are freeloading, the owls are glaring, the toucans are amazing.
It was very cold as I walked around wearing my down filled jacket and thermal pant lining under my jeans.
For a Saturday winter afternoon adventure it was perfect.
As always, I wished I could have had my blogging camera happy friends along too.