Tracy Aviary, Salt Lake City

We set off well before the sun came up down the icy road from Bryce Canyon. Our destination was Salt Lake City. It was a long road, way up north, over four hours, and the cold traveled with us on our November journey. When the sky began to lighten we were just outside of the city limits. Clouds of snow dust were blowing about the mountain bases, so alien, so beautiful.

salt_lake_city_1 salt_lake_city_Dawn broke on the pristine mountains, now snow capped.

salt_lake_city_3 salt_lake_city_4Could there be a better entrance to a city? We loved Salt Lake. Its streets are as pristine as its mountains. Our first stop was at the Tracy Aviary [589 1300 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105], located in picturesque Liberty Park.

liberty_park_salt_lake_cityI couldn’t believe the colors in this park, the mountain in the backdrop, my goodness this was a blissful sight after a long drive. We walked around the lake and headed into the aviary, a kind of zoo just for birds, many of which have sustained life-altering injuries. Unbeknownst to us we came on a ‘Winter Wednesday,’ which meant admission was just a dollar a person, a real steal. Make sure you buy something from the gift shop if you get in that cheap! This place deserves your patronage. Most of the exhibits here are outside, so dress accordingly for the season. This place is small enough to see in an hour if you’re breezing by, but if you really want to study the birds you could spend a solid half-day on the 8-acre property. We got our map and followed it around to each point. First we went to the pelican pond and watched the waterfowl.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_ tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_2Then we went to go visit Andy, who would later steal our hearts. Andy is an Andean Condor who was hatched at the San Diego Zoo in 1959, they knew he was a boy from the dangle caruncle on his head. In his environment he looked sassy enough, but as we were walking around all the sudden we saw Andy on the path! What a strange encounter…no he wasn’t alone and he hadn’t escaped, this is a part of a new training program for the birds at the aviary. Andy and his trainers go for walks everyday. His stride is hilarious. He trots along bouncily and has quite the mischievous demeanor. His sheer size is quite intimidating and before I knew what was going on he was trotting my way! I stood frozen, should I punt him if he attacks me? Should I run, will he chase? A quick call from his trainer and Andy, with what I swear was a smirk on his face, bopped on back and received a piece of meat. His trainer shared with me, ‘I don’t know if we’re training him or he’s training us.’ Every time Andy approaches a person, his trainer has to call him back with a nice slab of meat…hmmm…Well, everyone wins, I did get this fabulous shot of Andy up close and personal.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_15We also met Barney on the trail, perched onto his trainer. The beautiful great horned owl had the most mesmerizing eyes which fixated upon you in curiosity.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_3We also saw peacocks slinking around, keep your eyes out for those guys and gals.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_7Our encounters were amazing, such fascinating birds! We took our time viewing the other birds in their enclosures. We were shocked to see the regal eagles perched in an open enclosure, and wondered why they sat so contently.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_5 tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_4Their injuries prevent them from flying away, but they get a second chance at life here at the aviary.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_6I made a surprising connection with a turkey vulture who seemed to be very interested in me, as I in him.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_8I found I had a lot in common with the vultures, who love to soak up the afternoon sun.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_12tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_16We watched the odd behavior of a few flamingos in the flock.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_11We befriended a pheasant who ran back and forth with us.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_13An impromptu nest building show was going on in the parakeet house, where the birds fly freely around you.

tracy_aviary_salt_lake_city_10There was so much going on at the aviary, and it was all absolutely amazing. If you are a bird or nature lover, you must visit the Tracy Aviary on your visit to Salt Lake City, they do beautiful work with the birds here.

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