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San Diego Zoo: For the Birds



Before I actually get down to any more birds, I need a few words. One of the most amazing things about the San Diego Zoo is that everyone seems to think it is huge. A number of websites and reviews call it the biggest, even though at 100 acres it doesn't even make the U.S. Top Ten.

But a quick glimpse at the map below shows how well laid out it is; as you wander you can never see the edges. It's like a haunted house ride—seems to go on forever but is actually a convoluted path through a small space.


And, even though it meant we twice got lost looking for the elephants (and never found them before closing time) there's always something new to see, close in front of you. Nearly four thousand animals and 650+ species. I'm not sure they counted the squirrels and pigeons in that, though.


As we wandered, we came on different bird habitats. Some like the flamingoes, were on their honor not to leave, and others were in large enclosed aviaries at different points along the path. Unlike some aviaries I've seen which are basically mesh-enclosed rooms, the San Diego Zoo has multi-story structures that can be entered and exited at different levels.


This is one of the originals, from 1923, donated by the Scripps family.


Sometimes you can be the object of their curiosity. And sometimes they couldn't care less.


Some are careful eaters, and some just have no table manners at all...


Bright eyes and dark feathers... and some with brighter feathers and dark eyes.


And a tree that in the dark could take on a menacing look...


Around the Zoo's various water features, a variety of species...


Including these, who were sharing a pool with a hippopotamus...


My mental image of penguins is so focused on the cold Antarctic that it's easy to forget there are penguins in more moderate climates as well (although not usually in San Diego!)


As we were leaving, there was a bit of bad-boy behavior by a couple of peacocks. After a bit of posturing, posing and awkward sounds, this one remained and the other withdrew.


Like us, this peahen did little more than watch...



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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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