NEW YORK (AP) – The Bronx Zoo is showing off its birds — not just the ones it keeps, but the ones just passing through.
The zoo opened early Saturday so eagle-eyed visitors can look for the scores of wild bird species that hang out in its 265 acres, especially during the spring migration now underway. Meanwhile, enthusiasts can see the exotic denizens of one of the most diverse avian displays in U.S. zoos, with over 230 species.
Indeed, bird-watchers will get a list of about 470 birds they might spot in and outside exhibits. While many birders don’t officially count captive animals as species they’ve seen, the zoo is including them for fun.
“Unlike all their peers, bird watchers will have ostrich on their list for the day,” said Steve Zack, the bird conservation coordinator. “No one in Central Park will have ostrich.”
Saturday’s event was a first for the 115-year-old Bronx Zoo, and more than 100 bird-watchers have signed up, Zack said.
A savvy birder could spot about 100 wild species, including lots of colorful, tuneful warblers, tanagers and flycatchers. Great horned owls and wild waterfowl also frequent the zoo, sometimes mingling in the exhibits.
“As I’m talking to you,” Zack said Friday, “a swan from Argentina is chasing away a Canada goose.”