Once again, Twitter followers of the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park were treated to a unique backstage experience. The tweet-up was part of the larger Festival of Flight event that took place over Veteran’s Day weekend. It included interactive activities, learning booths and tons of close encounters with birds from around the world. Watch the video above, then read on to see photos and get a better idea of what you’re seeing.
Unlike other tweets-ups so far (Animal Superstars, Cheetah Run), the Festival of Flight Tweet-Up was a limited affair. The zoo was only able to accommodate 23 people and prospective attendees had to secure a spot by RSVPing online, with the spots filling up pretty quickly. Stay vigilant on Twitter, because you never know when you are going to miss out on a great event.
We met up on a wet Saturday morning in the Urban Jungle in front of the Backstage Pass area. We were then led into the behind-the-scenes area to feed the Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis). On the way, I got a great look at the Grant’s zebra, Miniature Mediterranean donkey and two red kangaroos, which were all off exhibit to escape the rain. We walked through a food preparation room and were given a red plastic cup full of water and dried dog food.
Once inside the grassy flamingo enclosure, we were instructed to hold the cups between our legs (the lower the better) and refrain from touching the graceful birds. They fed by filtering the water for food with like comb-like beaks, which to me looked like black zippers. This flock of flamingos are all around two-years-old.
Next, we returned to the Backstage Pass area and were introduced to Nakali, a 23-year-old male Brazilian spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata). Zookeeper Heidi explained that he is a very unique owl in that he enjoys being pet and scratched. Listen closely to the video to hear Nakali coo with pleasure.
Finally, Zookeeper Kindra introduced us to Luna, a female Blue-and-Gold macaw (Ara ararauna) from the tropical rain forests of South America. Luna is not one for petting, but she did enjoy showing off her wings, which have not been clipped, unlike Nakali and the flamingos.
As ever, follow me on Twitter, as well as the zoo and Safari Park for info about upcoming tweet-ups. If you’re dying to know more about what goes on at a tweet-up, you’ll just have to attend. They are free with the price of admission.
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