Birdwatching the National Aviary – Grasslands

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah (Vidua paradisaea)

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah (Vidua paradisaea)

The National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA is divided into different habitats. The National Aviary, they opened their Grassland exhibit in March of 2010 and here is their description of it. “Inhabiting the Grasslands exhibit are an array of delicate and colorful birds, including Gouldian finches, paradise whydah, Sudan golden sparrows, shaft-tail finches, melba finches, and blue ground doves. The exhibit’s plantscape comprises sea oats, bayberry, birch and dogwood as well as other greenery.”

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. (Psalms 147:7-9 ESV)

Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda) (Shaft-tailed) at NA by Dan

Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda) (Shaft-tailed) by Dan

Grasslands (also called greenswards) are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants. However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica. In temperate latitudes, such as northwest Europe and the Great Plains and California in North America, native grasslands are dominated by perennial bunch grass species, whereas in warmer climates annual species form a greater component of the vegetation.

Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass? (Job 38:25-27 ESV)

There are several types of Grasslands throughout the world. They are basically the: Tropical and subtropical grasslands, Temperate grasslands, Flooded grasslands, Montane grasslands and Desert and xeric grasslands. The Aviary has birds that represent these areas of the world.

Following is a list of the birds that we encountered in the Grasslands at the aviary:

From the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family:

Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul) at NA by Lee

Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul) at NA by Lee

Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar)
Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul)

From the Charidridae – Plovers Family:

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) at NA by Lee

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) at NA by Lee

American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica)
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

From the Psittacidae – Parrots Family:

Grey Parrot by Dan

Grey Parrot by Dan

Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) (African Grey Parrot)

From the Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves Family:

Inca Dove (Columbina inca) at NA by Lee

Inca Dove (Columbina inca) at NA by Lee

Inca Dove (Columbina inca)

From the Muscicapidae – Chats, Old World Flycatchers Family

White-rumped Shama by Lee

White-rumped Shama by Lee

White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)

From the Passeridae – Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches Family

Sudan Golden Sparrow by Dan

Sudan Golden Sparrow by Dan

Sudan Golden Sparrow (Passer luteus)

From the Estrididae – Waxbills, Munias & Allies Family:

Long-tailed Finch youngsters by Dan

Long-tailed Finch youngsters by Dan

Green-winged Pytilia (Pytilia melba) (Melba Finch)
Long-tailed Finch (Poephila acuticauda) (Shaft-tailed Finch)
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae)

From the Viduidae – Indigobirds, Whydahs Family

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah by Dan

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah by Dan

Long-tailed Paradise Whydah (Vidua paradisaea) (Paradise Whydah)

From the Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds Family

Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus) by Lee

Scarlet-headed Blackbird asleep by Lee

Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus)

From the Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies Family

Saffron Finch by Dan

Saffron Finch by Dan

Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola)

I use the I.O.C.’s names, but they are the same birds. I have put the aviary’s name at the end, if it differs.

I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. (Psalms 50:11 ESV)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) at NA by Lee

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) at NA by Lee

Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! (Deuteronomy 32:1-3 ESV)

Green-winged Pytilia (Pytilia melba) (Melba Finch) at NA by Lee

Green-winged Pytilia (Pytilia melba) (Melba Finch) at NA by Lee “Proof”

Of David. Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. (Psalms 37:1-5 ESV)

Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul) at NA by Lee M-F and Babies

Crested Partridge (Rollulus rouloul) at NA by Lee M-F and Babies

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth (Psalms 104:14 ESV)

Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) at NA by Lee

Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) at NA by Lee

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8 ESV)

Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) at NA by Lee

Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) at NA by Lee

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:30 ESV)

(Various quotes are from the Scripture, National Aviary website and Wikipedia. Some of the shots by me are just “proof shots”. They were taken to prove I saw the bird, and some didn’t come out well.)

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