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Boomerang Island now open at Buffalo Zoo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo Zoo is offering new family fun that's for the birds! The "Boomerang Island: Birds from Down Under" exhibit opened for the public Saturday morning.

The crowds that were first through the doors told News 4 they loved the interactive experience.

The first thing many people will notice when they walk into that space is the noise.

Abigail Skotnicki, 7, said, "It sounds like millions of birds chirping!"

Actually, there are about 300 birds, representing a variety of species native to the Australian Outback, calling the aviary at the Buffalo Zoo home for the summer. They were brought here by a company in California.

"It's amazing!" said 7-year-old Ella Hereth.

"Incredible," added another 7-year-old, Angel Palumbo.

It's also very colorful, with everything from budgies, to cockatiels, Princess of Wales parrots, superb parrots, kookaburras, and more.

Zoo guests are able to get close encounters with all of them.

"It was so cool!" Hereth told News 4. "I never got that close to a bird!"

If you'd like to get close to the birds, you can buy a seed-covered stick for $2. Guests hold out the sticks for the birds, who come over to enjoy a tasty snack.

Zoo leaders say this is part of a growing national trend toward more interactive exhibits.

The goal is to get more people excited about learning more about the animals, and hopefully helping more with conservation efforts.

"We're looking forward to welcoming everybody to the zoo for a wonderful summer, and helping all of us work together to support wildlife and securing a future for wildlife for future generations," said Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Norah Fletchall before the exhibit opened.

The doors on the aviary opened for the public at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, and the place was quickly filled with guests of all generations getting one-on-one time with the birds.

Even the polar bears in the exhibit nextdoor seem to enjoy their new neighbors. "Luna and Sikari can actually see the exhibit. They can hear the birds, they can see the birds, and they find that quite interesting to watch," Fletchall said.

Boomerang Island will be open at the Buffalo Zoo through Labor Day this year, before the birds head back to California to wait out our cold Buffalo winter.

They will be back again. "Our plan is to have this exhibit for multiple summers, so you'll be able to enjoy this for this summer and summers in the future," Fletchall said.

To learn more about everything you can see at the Buffalo Zoo, click here.


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