Sunday 12 January 2020

Bloedel Conservatory is a Topical Paradise in Vancouver

Situated at the highest point in Vancouver within the iconic Queen Elizabeth Park is a tropical paradise, the Bloedel Conservatory which is home to hundreds of tropical plants, flowers and birds! In celebration of its 50th birthday, the Bloedel Conservatory hosted a month-long Festivale Tropicale! 

It was pretty hard to resist because who does not want to escape Vancouver's gloomy rainy, windy and pathetic attempt of snow into a tropical-themed festival. I am sorry for not posting about this sooner and profusely apologize to all those who missed out. I actually went on the very last day of Festivale Tropicale, January 5th, 2020, so I barely made it for the festivities too. 

Housed within the iconic clear facetted dome is a temperature-controlled tropical paradise that is home to over 500 topical plants and over 200 birds, the majority of which are free-flying. Lots of lush foliage, a diverse array of trees including fruit trees and stunning florals like orchards and birds of paradise. Running through the middle of the conservatory is a small waterfall and creek in which bright orange, white and black koi swim around in. Natural light and sunshine fill the conservatory through the large acrylic panels that make up the dome. The Bloedel Conservatory is considered a healing garden and I absolutely agree! How could you not be happy surrounded by all the lush green plants, happy chirping birds and the warmth of the sunshine against your skin?! 

A handful of the birds are not free-flying and remain for the most part on their perches, but some have been known to climb down and walk around on the cobblestoned path. The clipped birds are the massive full-grown macaws, cockatoos and other types of parrots that vary in size and each has distinct larger than life personalities. I asked why the flight feathers are clipped and was told it is for the birds and visitors' safety as the birds will fly and nip at guests. They are definitely the favourites amongst visitors and draw huge crowds! The birds all have their own larger than life personalities and some are even a bit naughty and mischevious - I am talking about you Rudy (a 22-year-old African Grey Parrot)!  

I know clipping flight feathers on birds is a bit of a controversial topic; however, from my understanding, clipped flight feathers do grow back. It does take some time like about a year, but the flight feathers will eventually grow back. All of the birds appeared happy and were full of energy. I took a peek in their food bowls and saw a variety of freshly cut vegetables and fruits which makes me happy because it is important for a topical bird's diet. I am a huge advocate for feeding pets a real food diet because it is more representative of what they would eat in the wild. 

Art a blue & gold Macaw born in 1977. He is the cutest dancer and my favourite large bird
I absolutely love and adore animals so it is tough to pick favourites. Plus tropical birds are some of the most stunning birds in the world! Art is the massive blue & gold macaw born in 1977! He is STUNNING 👏👏👏 and seriously deserving the use of the clapping emoji because dayumn he is one handsome bird. He did the most adorable little dance where he bobbed up and down. He also ruffled his feathers and spread his wings to show off his impressive wing-span. 

Kramer is a soft salmon pink feathered Moluccan Cockatoo. Supposedly he has a vocabulary of over 40 words and phrases and is noted to be the most intelligent and chattiest bird at the conservatory. Unfortunately, he was sleepy that morning and was not feeling as social as he usually is. Another chatty playful bird is Blanca, their Umbrella Cockatoo. She was also pretty lethargic that morning, but when she feels like it, Blanca likes to dance and entertain all of her fans. Also, the tree behind Blanca was full of nearly ripe papayas that I so wish I could taste! Love me some juicy papayas! 

As I previously mentioned, Rudy was by far the most entertaining to watch because she was a bit of a trouble maker. A lot of the birds have umbrellas for shade and shelter, but Rudy was chewing it to bits and kept climbing up and down the perch and umbrella. But mischief is a sign of intelligence, so I was not surprised to learn that Rudy has a large vocabulary. Neighbouring the rowdy Rudy was the far gentler and quiet Gidget, a citron-crested cockatoo who shares the same birth year as me! She is such a sweety-pie and the absolute polar opposite of her rambunctious neighbour Rudy. 

Blanca the Umbrella Cockatoo born 1998. Behind her is a massive bushel of papayas growing!
There are a lot of free-flying birds that whiz around the conservatory and at times uncomfortably close to your head. The thought of one of the large macaws flying close to my head does terrify me, so I definitely see the conservatory's decision to continue clipping the larger birds. Lots of little budgerigars (budgies) of varying colours. My personal favourite was a lilac sky blue toned budgie. The Zebra Finch is super cute and likes to hang beside the budgies neighbouring Blanca the umbrella cockatoo. The Roul-Roul Partridge are this funny kind of like an ornate looking chicken that runs amongst the foliage. Almost stepped on one fo the partridges when he was trying to cross my path - whoops! Lots of other little birds were flying about like the Long-Tailed Finch, Saffron Finch, Siskin, Pin-Tailed Whydah, Bourke's Parakeet and the Napolean Weaver. 

The bird that kept whizzing around and barely missed my head was gorgeous deep red and neon green Australian King Parrot. Oh, he definitely acted like he was the king of the space because he was fearless and even would go and stand on the significantly larger parrots' perches like the macaws. I would keep an eye out for him when you visit the Bloedel Conservatory! 

There are too many birds for me to share in one blog post, so I urge you to check out the Bloedel Conservatory webpage for more pictures and information on all of the birds that they care for. The conservatory is phenomenal and charges an unbelievably low entrance price of $6.90 an adult making it accessible for anyone. Tropical birds are EXTREMELY expensive to care for. Their diet should primarily be fresh vegetables and fruits and the larger birds can also be very picky so one day they might like blueberries and the next day they will hate them. The entrance rate definitely goes completely towards the care of the birds and the maintenance of the facility.  

I am a bit ashamed that I cannot recall the last time I visited the Bloedel Conservatory because it must have been two decades ago when I was still a little child. Such a shame; however, I am glad I have rediscovered this magical tropical oasis and definitely plan on visiting the pretty birds more. Still hard to believe that nestled in the middle of Vancouver ontop of a hill is a year-round tropical oasis with beautiful tropical birds. 

Let me know in the comments below which bird is your favourite and if you have visited Bloedel Conservatory! 


Gidget is the Citron-Crested Cockatoo born 1993

Tiny Zebra Finch. 

This pair of Green-Winged Macaws are HUGE! Named Carmen and Maria, they are sisters born in 2000 and are almost identical. Green-Winged Macaws are the second largest macaw and are native to South America. The Hyacinth Macaws are the largest type of macaw and are the most stunning deep royal blue with the tiniest hint of yellow on their faces. A pair of Hyacinth Macaws live in the tropical region of the Vancouver Aquarium! 

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