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Volume xviii, Issue 10 ~ March 11 - March 17, 2010

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This Week's Creature Feature

Maryland Zoo still recovering from winter

by Diana Beechener

This year the Maryland Zoo discovered that March isn’t the only month with lion-like ferocity. When zoo doors open for the spring season this weekend, animal lovers will notice that their fine-feathered friends are absent from their aviaries.

After 2010’s blizzards, the zoo was forced to ground both its bird exhibits. 

“The snow collapsed both of our aviaries,” says zoo spokeswoman Jane Ballentine.

“In the African Aviary, the birds had been removed to our indoor barn space since they’re not used to our winters,” Ballentine says. The zoo was not so lucky with their Marsh Aviary.

The Marsh Aviary is the starting point for the zoo’s Maryland Wilderness exhibit, a walking tour of Maryland’s geographical and natural diversity. The snow didn’t take any lives, but it did make the aviary a touring exhibit.

“We had the long-eared owl escape through the rip in the netting,” Ballentine reports. Though the owl took wing to find freedom, she knows where home is. She’s in the woods nearby and is calling home.

Bird exhibits closed at the zoo’s grand opening March 13 and until insurance claims clear. In the meantime, lions, leopards and elephants are making their March appearances as usual.

As for the penguins, don’t make assumptions. The zoo’s warm-weather breed of flightless bird won’t be allowed outside until the temperature climbs above 40 degrees.

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore opens March 13 & 14, 10am-4pm $5: 410-396-7102.

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