Giving Guide 2023: National Aviary

The mission of the National Aviary is to inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds. Through immersive, free-flight habitats full of beautiful birds and animals, the Aviary allows the community to be part of that mission. Each time you visit the National Aviary, you are contributing to saving species and protecting their habitats around the world. The National Aviary provides exceptional daily care for more than 500+ birds and animals, from hatchling to geriatric, which can only happen with community help. Giving Tuesday is November 28, and this year, the National Aviary is asking for your support.

One of the most well-known species living at the Aviary are endangered African penguins. The National Aviary’s Penguin Point colony serves as ambassadors for their species: spreading awareness to the public about their plight in the wild, and providing insights into what people can do to help them at home. However, the National Aviary’s work to save African penguins isn’t limited to Penguin Point. 

The National Aviary is a leader for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program for African penguins. Members of the Aviary’s care team have lent their expertise by working at the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).

None of this work would be possible without you. Every dollar from admission sales, donations, and fundraisers goes right back to the Aviary’s mission, at home and abroad.

Wildlife species considered endangered and even extinct in the wild, like the adorable, flightless Guam kingfisher, rely on institutions like the Aviary for hope for their species’ future. The Guam kingfisher became extinct in the wild when their home was devastatingly overrun by an invasive species, the brown tree snake, accidentally brought to Guam by humans. 

Action can be taken in the work to save as many species as possible from extinction. The National Aviary’s Animal Care staff has been working to give Guam kingfisher populations a brighter future in the wild through an Association of Zoos and Aquariums collaborative breeding program. Aviary staff provides exceptional care for newly-hatched Guam kingfisher chicks, including daily weight checks followed by feedings, using rubber tweezers, to ensure proper growth.

Programs like these have been proven effective, as seen with the reintroduction of another brown tree snake victim, the previously-extinct in the wild Guam rails, of which there is currently a small population thriving on islands near Guam. One of only two species to be upgraded from extinct in the wild, the National Aviary sent more Guam rails to those islands than any other North American zoo. 

Your generosity can make a world of difference for the birds. All gifts this Giving Tuesday will go toward providing high-quality, individualized care for the birds and animals who call the National Aviary home, and for flocks around the world in need of help.

On behalf of the National Aviary, thank you!

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Story and Photography by National Aviary

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