When you walk into the Wings of the World, the last thing you might look for are fairies. If you look and listen long enough, in the right place, you might just find one of the newest additions to the Cincinnati Zoo. Now keep in mind, these are not fairies of the Disney variety, but fairies of the bird world.
The first place that I would suggest to look would have you start in the Australiasia exhibit. This exhibit is home to many species: Rhinoceros Hornbill, Bali Mynah, Nicobar Pigeon, Guam Rails, just to name a few. Once inside the exhibit, you might hear a very distinctive vocalization. You also might see a quick flash of turquoise blue. This would be your first fairy sighting.
The Asian Fairy Bluebird (Irena puella) is the largest member of the family Irenidae. They are also the most colorful of the family, with a very distinctive turquoise and black coloration. They can be found naturally in Southern Asia, high up in the forest canopy. One trait that makes them easy to find in the exhibit, is their loud call full of sharp, short whistles. Once you hear their call, you can then zero in on their location, usually high up in the exhibit.
The next fairy in the Wings of the World is not as easy to find as the Fairy Bluebird. This is mainly because it is not on display as of yet. With that said, let me introduce you to the newest member of our penguin colony:
The Fairy Penguin (Eudyptula minor), also known as the Blue, or as we call them the Little Penguin, are the smallest species of penguin found on the planet. This little guy or gal, hatched out in our Aviculture nursery on 1-11-11, is being hand raised by our Aviculturists, with feedings every two hours starting at 6am. Once the chick is old enough, it will then join the other penguins at our Little Penguin colony at the entrance of the Children’s Zoo. Be sure to look for it, along with the other Little Penguins this spring once the weather starts to turn warmer.
So the next time you are at the Wings of the World, be sure to look for these two amazing examples of the real fairies of the world.