Birds of a feather flock at the Turtleback Zoo aviary

Approximately 350 birds cruise around the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo aviary, creating their own symphony and splashing the enclosure’s foliage with vibrant yellows, greens and blues.

The largest of the three species on exhibit is the budgerigar – a colorful bird native to Australia and better known as the parakeet stateside.

Visitors get to take an active role in their trip to the aviary, feeding the birds with seeds on a stick. In the wild, the birds typically fly from tree to tree in search of food.

“We want people to get this nice connection with wildlife. All the animals we have the zoo, that’s the main goal — to connect people with wildlife, so we’re inspiring people to learn about them and conserve them for future generations,” said zoo curator Samantha Wegman. “By coming into the space it’s really unique because you can interact with the animals, which you can’t do with all the other areas, so we love people to come in and build relationships with these animals and really be invested in their future.”