I’ve been thinking about Linda’s comment regarding my recent post of a Hawk (link here) and her reference to it being too boring for my blog. She’s claiming that she is just looking out for the best interest of my peeps. Well, this has been the main noodle topic on my training runs as of late. What can I do to address this perspective and maybe even provide that needed push I need to get caught up on our photo shoots. It occurred to me at mile 10 last Wednesday that I have the perfect remedy. I do indeed have shots of more “exotic” birds and those are actually on my to-do list from back in July 2011. And people still wonder why I subject myself to the torture of running…. well other than letting me eat what I want (hehehe) it gives me ample time to noodle and I’m betting everyone could use a little more time to noodle.
If you recall, I previously posted a few pics of the Indiana Zoo taken by Linda (link here). To complement that I will now roll out the carpet for the first of the Indianapolis Zoo Aviary shots. Drum roll please.
Is that EXOTIC enough for you? Guessing you might have just gagged a little bit. Hey, they all can’t be studly like the Hawk! This is obviously not a bird you will come across just walking in the park here in the US. To be honest, I couldn’t even locate this bird in any of my bird references (I do have a few that cover more than North America like the Sibley guide). This required me to hunt down the Indianapolis Zoo website and go through their animal list until I located the birds (yes, there is more than one in this set). Without a guide reference I had to once again employ our friends over at Wikipedia. Turns out they have a page devoted to both the birds on this post. This creature which only a mother could love comes from Central Africa.
In clear evidence of evolution, this bird was obviously maligned by the pretty boy birds to point where distance became his only friend. This led to becoming one of the highest flying birds with the ability to exceed an elevation of 36,000 feet. Jonathan Seagull has nothing on these creatures. The impressive flight ability is definitely aided by their 7 to 8 foot wingspan, but still impressive for a bird that can upwards of 20 pounds. Clearly they follow the vulture trait of living off of carrion, but I am sad to report that this bird is listed as endangered. Note it lost two notches since 2007. Let’s all give our best wishes that we can save this bird for our future generations to gag.. I mean observe.
Okay… Time for the second bird. Please put down any food you might be eating at the moment and consider moving your keyboard away slightly to the left or right to cut down on cleanup. Take a deep breath and hit the jump to see the second bird in this post.
Breathe, breathe, relax, it’s just a picture. You are probably thinking this is one NASTY LOOKING vulture. Unfortunately, you are wrong. Turns out this is a stork – in particular a Marabou Stork. My first thought is this is where ugly babies must come from … groan all you want, I laughed. As with the first bird, this is a native of Africa. Guessing they would enjoy reading about our hawks after having to witness this atrocity scavenging around. Once again, I had to rely on Wikipedia for supporting information. They are sometimes referred to as the Undertaker Bird which is a keen observation. It was truly creepy looking through the Beast at this thing. Linda was having no part of it, preferring instead to go photograph the cute rhinos.
Like the Rüppell’s Vulture they can grow to 20 pounds, but they put that 8ft wingspan to shame with their 12ft span – the largest of any land bird (although typically they run in the 7-9ft range). Looks like those Albatrosses possess the widest spans. The truly scary thing is these birds will eat just about anything including the cast offs from vultures – how nasty does something have to be to drop to a point where it is too disgusting for a vulture to eat? I included the next image even though the shot contains enclosure wires – something I try to avoid in my captive shots. I felt the composition supported the “undertaker” impression. Thantos probably had one of these as a pet.
Oh, this birds enjoys a least concern conservation status – not surprising since the world is full of garbage. I did learn that the flap of skin hanging down from its neck in the previous picture is called a gular skin. I will not tell you what I was calling it.
That’s all I have folks. This closes out September with very little time to spare.
Before I forget, Happy Birthday to my brother Ron who is much much much much much much much much much much older than me.