National Aviary

    This weekend is going to be amazing.

Josh has been so busy with Thrival and the launch of his new podcast, Nanograms. It launches today and you can find out more about it here.

Kurt Sampsel / WESA

It may not have received the Oscar recognition it could have, but the movie "Selma" is inspiring discussions about the civil rights movement among school-age children and young adults. Actor Stan Houston played Jim Clark, the sheriff of Selma, Alabama in 1965. Houston talks about the impact of the film and what he thinks it will take to move America forward in the aftermath of current events. Asked about how his own background as a Southerner impacted his preparation for the film, Houston explains:

“Well, growing up in the South, everybody’s met ‘the guy.’ .. You know, not specifically, but we know the personality, the attitudes, that we grew up [with] in the South. … I portrayed my old high school coach. … I tried to turn it around -- if Jimmie Lee Jackson had the baton in his hand, and he was able to do to Clark what he was doing to Jimmie Lee in the scene. Reverse the roles, in other words -- carry out his frustrations of being discriminated against, denied the right to vote, just because of the color of his skin. So, I used that as a motivation.”

Also today, a former school teacher and activist remembers marching in Selma, Alabama in 1965. And representatives from the National Aviary discuss an online auction to name one of its African penguin chicks.

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. 

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.

Top Views of 2014: Seagulls Flock to Pittsburgh

Dec 22, 2014
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.

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.

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.

Bald Eagle Lays Egg in Pittsburgh

Feb 20, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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.

Giggles the Kookaburra Stays True to His Name

Apr 15, 2013
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.

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.