SALT LAKE CITY — You're not actually in the jungles and vegetation of South America when you step into the spacious confines of the new 8,000-square-foot Calvin D. Wilson South American Pavilion at Tracy Aviary. But you might as well be, with the sounds of pecking, squawking and squealing and the sights of shrubbery, trees and bark.
Those sounds come from the 20 species of South American birds that the pavilion holds under its roof.
The sights are part of the re-created native habitats that Tracy Aviary hopes will make the birds feel more at home.
The pavilion opens to the public Saturday.
The aviary, 589 E. 1300 South in Liberty Park, has scheduled a public grand opening at noon for all those who want to get a glimpse of the exotic birds, including the paradise tanager, scarlet ibis and pompadour cotinga.
Not only is the South American Pavilion set up to be an exhibit for the young and old, but it's also being used to help conserve the bird species that call it home through hands-on care by the staff.
"All are high-priority species," said Roger Sweeney, curator at the aviary. "They are defined as managed populations by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. We are building communities, basically. Priority is on breeding and sustainable management."
The pavilion also includes an incubation room that will allow staff to hand-rear eggs when complications arise.
"There are occasions where a chick will fall out of the nest or parents don't incubate the eggs properly," Sweeney said.
Along with helping out endangered chicks, the room will also serve as an extra treat for guests.
"The inclusion of our incubation and hand-rearing facility gives visitors a special behind-the-scenes view into the way we manage breeding of many of our birds," Sweeney said. "We thought it would be nice to put it where people could see it."
The aviary is planning to add at least another six species to the pavilion as the facility matures.
For more information on the South American Pavilion and entrance fees into the aviary, visit www.tracyaviary.org or call 801-596-8500.