National Aviary | August 2022
Did you know the country’s largest aviary, home to over 500 birds and more than 150 species, is located in Pittsburgh’s North Side? It’s true! Plus, Pittsburgh’s National Aviary is the only aviary in the country to boast official “National” status by Congress.
Amazingly, it’s celebrating its 70th year after opening in 1952 on the site of the original Phipps Conservatory. When the aviary first opened, it was a modest 3,600 square feet, but after a 1967 expansion including installation of the wetlands room, the aviary claimed 25,000 square feet of North Side property to host its feathered tenants.
When visiting, be sure to keep an eye out for some of the most endangered species on the planet like Andean condors, Vietnam pheasants, and the ultra-rare Bali myna. In addition to its conservation efforts, the Aviary has successfully bred many species like spectacled owls, the Guam kingfisher, and African penguins. In the wetlands room, visitors can have an immersive experience with free-flying birds including opportunities to hand-feed some species that can’t be found in zoos anywhere else in the world.
Following its most recent 2018 renovation, the National Aviary has never been more ready to host curious birders of all ages. The wetlands room features 3,146 new panes of glass after removing the old ones by hand and replacing them with special bird-friendly glass sourced locally. The panes were acid-etched to minimize collisions by birds both inside and out while allowing as much ultraviolet light in to sustain ideal tropical conditions for flora and fauna alike.