The Smithsonian National Zoo reopened the nation’s premiere birdhouse this past Monday after six years of renovation at a cost of $69 million.
This renovated birdhouse is home to 57 species and three walkthrough aviaries that simulate natural ecosystems including the Delaware Bay, where birds flying from South America to the Arctic stop to refuel, and prairie pothole, a stop on the midwest to southern Canada route where ducks migrate in the spring to lay eggs. There’s also the coffee farm, which simulates tropical winter weather.
Zoo assistant bird curator Eric Slovak says the birds came to their care through rehab centers or were caught in the wild. He explains these birds are called the “ambassadors for their species.”
This conservation effort is attracting people from all around the country.
First-time visitor Brandon Escandon said it was interesting to hear how communities nationwide can protect birds from the comfort of their houses.
“They were just giving helpful tips on not just what they do here, but ways other people around their house can help, such as by using bird feeders,” said Escandon.