There’s a fantastic demonstration of exotic birds at the National Zoo called “Birds in Flight” – free shows twice daily (except Tuesdays) through September 5th (details here).
Here’s some of what you may see:
Building a nest
A bird is given nesting material – and then someone from the crowd can volunteer to have a nest put on their head! The bird is trained to take the nesting material and add it to the nest.
The birds can do some useful things, like handle the recycling.
And sometimes the birds seek payment for their work.
Baby birds are brought up close to the crowd for viewing.
Feeding the birds
All the kids in the crowd (and some adults) are encouraged to come up to the barriers and given food to cup in their hands, for the birds to eat as they are brought around.
A few of the birds are trained to move around the crowd.
And it is probably the closest you’ll get to an owl, as the trainer safely holds it.
Phung Luu is the renowned bird behavorist who has trained the birds and created this show.
Sometimes other zoo experts run the show, which is equally wonderful.
The Zoo requires a free timed ticket for entry to the zoo, but once you are there, the exotic bird show does not require tickets. There’s usually quite a crowd so if you want a seat or to get closer, get there a few minutes before it starts.