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Prior to our March trip to Florida I researched the location of some of the best birding sites around Orlando. One promising one was Discovery Cove which had three separate walk-in aviaries for different, mostly exotic birds from around the world.
As a bird photographer I have a very soft spot in my heart for walk-in aviaries because of the opportunity they afford for close-up photography with generally great focus. However, this was my first visit to the Orlando area and I did not notice that Discovery Cove was not a part of SeaWorld. So I bought a ticket to SeaWorld. While the Penguin House was great (see Penguins page www.ComingsBirds/Florida) I soon learned that Discovery Cove was actually across the street from SeaWorld. It was set up for all day visits with breakfast and lunch included and cost a lot more than I was thinking of spending since I was only interested in the birds. I was standing next to the Penguin House looking a bit dejected when someone asked if they could help. I told him I was a bird photographer intent on visiting the aviary at Discovery Cove and had just learned it was across the street and much more expensive than SeaWorld. He pulled out his cell phone and after a few minutes said, “I have set it up with a VP of Discovery Cove for you to have a personal tour of the a aviary tomorrow morning.” Unbelievable! He wrote the contact details on the back of his business car. Later when I had a chance to look at it I saw that my shinning knight was none other than an executive of SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica. How lucky can one get!
The next morning Tiffani Thompson, the supervisor of the aviary gave Sally and I a one-on-one tour of the aviaries. She was fantastic and knew all the birds by their Common Names, Scientific Names and she often had her own Pet Names. She even offered to proof read the web site to make sure I had the names right since virtually all of them were new to me. As you can see from the following pages there were many dozens of fabulously beautiful birds from around the world, especially Africa.
Despite the several hours I spent in the aviaries, I did not see all of the bird species - only about 70-80%. Thus I was both surprised and impressed to learn that the staff checks each bird off on a check list every day to track their well being and health. A great example of aviary care.
As part of tracking them each bird has a leg band, which I left in when it was visible.
There was a small, non-walk-in aviary in SeaWorld next to the Otter Stadium that also had some great birds such as the African Pygmy Goose, Bar-headed Goose, Inca Tern, Nicobar Pigeon, Plush Crested Jay, Redhead, Ringed Teal, Sun Bittern and White-faced Ibis. I have included them.
True to my experience with other aviaries I was able to get some great photos. Enjoy!
REMEMBER: WHEN YOU ARE ON THE INDIVIDUAL PAGES, TO SEE THE PHOTOGRAPHS ENLARGED, DOUBLE CLICK THE FIRST PHOTO AND PROGRESS BY CLICKING "NEXT."
GROUPS OF RELATED BIRDS HAVE BEEN PLACED IN CAPITALIZED FOLDERS (ANACARI, DOVES & PIGEONS, HORNBILLS, IBIS, JAYS AND ROLLERS).
WHEN THE FOLDER IS CLICKED THE INDIVIDUAL SPECIES ARE SHOWN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BLUE SECTION OF THE PAGE. CLICK ON THESE TO SEE THE INDIVIDUAL SPECIES.