© National Aviary
Eagle Hall is home to two distinct species of eagles. These eagles are found in the wild from eastern Russia's dense forests to Africa's savannas and grasslands. The Stellar's Sea Eagles can be found in the forest of eastern Russia, as well as northern Japan and Korea. They among the largest species of eagles on Earth, with a wingspan of up to eight feet. The female Stellar's Sea Eagle is larger than the male. These eagles are often found in cooler climates, with a natural habitat with cooler summer and cold winters. They are found in climates with winter lows sometimes reaching as low as negative thirty degrees.
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From Africa are the Bateleur Eagles, often seen throughout sub-Saharan Africa in the open savannas and grasslands. This species typically feed on carrion, similar to vultures. However, they also from time to time will feed on an array of other birds, mammals, and reptiles, even venomous snakes. Unfortunately, visitors aren't able to view the Bateleur Eagles during late fall and winter due to species dislike of colder weather. A part of the Eagle Hall exhibit also includes a display for guest to compare the wingspans and height of eagle found across the globe, as well as the opportunity to compare their own “wingspan” with that of the eagles.
The Grasslands exhibit provides a natural manmade habitat for finches, plover, doves, and an array of other species that are indigenous to grassland regions around the globe. This exhibit showcases a variety of vividly colored birds, such as the Sudan Golden Sparrow, Melba Finch, Paradise Whydah, Gouldian Finch, and Shaft-Tail Finch. There are also numerous grassland plants found here including birch, dogwood, bayberry, and sea oats.
The National Aviary has 18 African Penguins on display in the Penguin Point exhibit. This immersive area takes guests all the way to the scenery of South Africa's craggy shore. Guests will have the opportunity to explore an authentic penguin colony through the senses of sight, smell, and sound. Penguin Point, a large open-air area of the aviary, provides visitors with a 360-degree view of the African Penguins as they squabble, scale rocks, torpedo through water, and waddle around throughout their day to day lives.
From the other side of an acrylic-fronted pool, visitors can watch these penguins' shenanigans. Viewing is also possible from the Kids ViewTube, which goes beneath the penguin exhibit and is wheelchair accessible. The ViewTube provides views of the African Penguins from under the water as they soar through the exhibit's pool. The tube also contains “bubbles” that offer guests a chance to emerge among the penguins.
The African Penguin species is also known by the name of "jackass penguins" due to their braying, honking call. The exhibit also contains heated alcoves with nests for the penguins to congregate in during the colder days in winter. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums African Penguin Species Survival Plan, the National Aviary participates in a diligently supervised program for breeding in order to conserve genetically diverse African Penguin populations. The National Aviary's Penguin Cam provides visitors and anyone else who loves penguins an opportunity to watch the African Penguins online from anywhere in the world. Anyone can watch these cute birds swim, eat, and waddle to their heart's content.