National Aviary

4:57 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Pittsburgh Airport Transfers Endangered Owls to Natural Habitat

The endangered short-eared owl is about the size of a crow.
Credit Pittsburgh International Airport flickr

Pittsburgh International Airport has booked three short-eared owls a one-way ticket to their natural habitat.

The medium-sized owls, which measure 13 to 17 inches tall, were spotted on the edges of the airport’s property at the beginning of this month, and the airport’s wildlife management team, along with environmental regulatory agencies, have relocated them to a safer habitat — safer for them and potentially safer for the aircrafts.

While the short-eared owl is not considered endangered or threatened at the federal level, it is in Pennsylvania. 

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2:04 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Endangered African Penguin Chicks Make Public Debut at National Aviary

The newest members of the National Aviary's African penguin family.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

Less than a month after they hatched, two baby African penguins will now be on display along with their parents and other penguins at the National Aviary. The hatching of chicks is a somewhat rare and much-celebrated event.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:05 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Top Views of 2014: Seagulls Flock to Pittsburgh

Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back on 2014 and airing some of the Essential Pittsburgh stories that were most popular on our website,

To hear the full-length audio for this story, please refer to the original post.

Back in February 2014, Pittsburghers were surprised to find thousands of seagulls making the North Shore their temporary home. We spoke with Bob Mulvihill, an ornithologist at the National Aviary, who explained that the gulls migrated to Pittsburgh because of the extreme weather conditions created by the Polar Vortex.

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8:57 am
Sun May 4, 2014

National Aviary to Premiere Flying, Feathered Visual Symphony

The National Aviary in the North Shore is set to premier a visual symphony complete with birds, thanks to a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Fine Arts Program.

The show was created to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day, on May 10th.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:35 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

With the Great Lakes Frozen, A Rare Flock of Seagulls Roosts in Pittsburgh

A rare sight: Gulls take flight against a backdrop of downtown Pittsburgh.
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

Thousands of birds, commonly called seagulls, have made a rare migration south to roost at Pittsburgh’s North Shore.

Bob Mulvihill, an ornithologist at the National Aviary said the gulls ("seagull" is actually a colloquial term, he explained), normally roost at the Great Lakes this time of year, but the extreme cold from the polar vortex has frozen the surfaces.

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2:36 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Bald Eagle Lays Egg in Pittsburgh

A screen capture of a live video feed shows a bald eagle in its nest in Hays.
Credit The National Aviary /

One of the first pairs of bald eagles to nest in the Pittsburgh area in more than 200 years is expecting a baby soon.

The female bald eagle laid her first egg of the year Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. at the nest in Hays and will most likely lay another in the next 24 hours, according to National Aviary ornithologist Bob Mulvihill.

He said the female began her 35-day incubation period as soon as the egg was laid, setting the expected date of hatching toward the end of March.

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11:47 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Rare Andean Condors Roost on the North Shore

The female Andean condor Precious stretches her wings at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.
Credit National Aviary

As the snow falls on the city, a few of those flakes are finding the bald heads of a pair of birds at the National Aviary that many hope will someday find love on the North Shore. 

The Aviary recently obtained a pair of Andean condors with the hopes of getting the pair to breed. But with the male checking in at 43 years of age and the female 36 years old, these are no spring chicks.

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3:30 am
Sun December 1, 2013

After a Busy Shopping Weekend, Tuesday Becomes a Day to Give

Black Friday and Buy Local Saturday have come and gone, and Cyber Monday is just around the corner, but nonprofits across the region are hoping Pittsburghers will still have a little something in their checking accounts come Tuesday.

More than 7,800 organizations across the world are encouraging people to donate to charities and nonprofits to mark what has become known as Giving Tuesday.

The United Nations Foundation and 92d Street Y launched the initiative last year, and it trended globally on Twitter as #GivingTuesday.

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10:53 am
Thu November 7, 2013

"National" Aviary Marks 20 Years, Unveils New Exhibit

To kick off its 20th anniversary celebration as the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side, the facility is opening a new permanent exhibit Friday entitled “Canary’s Call.”

The display showcases four signature bird species including the rainbow lorikeet, Guam rail, rhinoceros hornbill and the canary, as well as one of the world’s largest fruit bats, the 2.5 pound Malayan flying fox.

According to Patricia O’Neill, director of education at the National Aviary, “Canary’s Call” shows how birds can be indicators of environmental change.

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Soundscapes & Postcards
12:21 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Giggles the Kookaburra Stays True to His Name

Giggles the Kookaburra
Credit 90.5 WESA

Giggles the Kookaburra lives at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh’s North Shore. Native to Australia, Laughing Kookaburras have the nickname of the “bushman’s alarm clock” due to their tendency to make their raucous laughing call early in the morning.

National Aviary
3:00 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

National Aviary Welcomes Baby Eurasian Eagle Owl

A 28-day-old Eurasian Eagle Owl makes her debute at the National Aviary. They grow quickly — this girl will be full-grown by the end of May.
Deanna Garcia 90.5 WESA

A 28-day-old Eurasian Eagle Owl made her public debut at the National Aviary Tuesday, joining the three already there.

“This Eurasian Eagle Owl is the first baby owl that has been born in any AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accredited zoo in the last five years, so she is a very special Eurasian Eagle Owl,” said aviary veterinarian Pilar Fish.

The yet-to-be-named baby owl will be part of a unique program at the aviary in which the owls have multiple roles: education, breeding and being exhibited.

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