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Here you will find information, musings, and pictures about life, the natural world and writing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Wildlife on the Las Vegas Strip Part 2: Feathers

One of the themes of this blog is the way people and animals interact. Las Vegas has a reputation for extreme human behavior, but over New Years I mostly saw bundled up people (it was cold) who were desperately seeking fun, entertainment, and glamor. They mostly found beer. I found flamingos.

Bugsy Siegel founded The Flamingo at the end of World War II. It opened, half finished, on December 26, 1946. The finances went poorly and the resort's backers vented their frustration by ventilating Bugsy on June 20, 1947. The resort maintains a shrine to its founder, or maybe just a historical plaque. You be the judge.

The Flamingo offers a bird collection that you might expect on an English manor--pheasants and guinea fowl loose on the grounds, waterfowl and koi. It's lovely and well kept, with good signs. I didn't see birds on the lawn or in the bushes, but did see a neat flamingo exhibit with wonderful waterfalls. I saw one sacred ibis in with the flamingos. They also had black and black-necked swans and a pair of hybrid whistling ducks with a good sign--they seemed a little embarrassed by the cross. There's a few other waterfowl as well and gi-hugeic fish in the "lake."

The waterways and grounds are free, extensive, and well worth a visit. One of the restaurants offers seating with a view of the "lake".

The last birds I saw were not in professional setting. Outside Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, a man offered the opportunity to have your picture taken with four macaws. The birds were very quiet and docile. (I'd love to know how you get macaws to do that.) I don't know macaws well enough to identify species or hybrids and I didn't see how they are housed when not "working". I suspect wire cages given the beat-up tail feathers. This life didn't seem like fun for the birds.

I'll finish this strange wildlife tour of The Strip with a posting of a few odds and ends and the opportunities I missed.

For other takes on human/wildlife interaction, see my website.

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