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Avian Conservation


The National Aviary is on the front lines to educate people and help conserve bird species, 4,230 of which are estimated by the American Bird Conservancy as at risk of extinction in the next generation-unless we act now.

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Success Story

African Penguins Bette and Sidney have been together for longer than any other pair in the National Aviary’s penguin colony. They have done amazing jobs in helping their endangered species, hatching 10 chicks in recent years! But in December, Bette became very ill. The National Aviary’s penguin care team noticed her behaving unusually. In response, our veterinary team gave Bette a full health screening, revealing a complicated, golf-ball-sized mass in her abdomen, entangling her reproductive tract.

Our veterinary team performed a complex, four-hour surgery to help Bette. As always, they were well-prepared, and developed a customized approach to the procedure. Thanks to early detection and the team’s expertise, the surgery was a success! They removed a benign mass with no damage to Bette’s organs. She has made a full recovery and returned to her important role in saving her species from extinction.

African Penguins are just one species representing the National Aviary’s work around the world. In our diverse population of 500 birds from 150 species and six continents, 76 species are part of a Species Survival Plan! Each bird in our care is imperative to our mission—and their species.

We achieve our mission to inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds via conservation, breeding endangered species, veterinary care, husbandry, environmental education, and visitor engagement. African Penguins are a beloved species, helping us involve visitors in conservation. Visitors of the National Aviary learn about birds, the challenges they face, and how we can help. Only through concerted efforts to save birds will these species survive for years to come.