Smithsonian National Zoo’s New Bird House Highlights Migratory Birds’ Incredible Journeys

Ruddy ducks in the Prairie Pothole Aviary.
Ruddy ducks in the Prairie Pothole Aviary. / Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
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Ducks in the water in the National Zoo's Prairie Pothole Aviary.
Ducks including canvasbacks, American widgeons, green-winged teals, and Northern shovelers paddle around the Prairie Pothole Aviary. / Kat Long

Next up is the Prairie Pothole Aviary, reproducing a type of wetland in the upper Great Plains that offers important rest stops for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Visitors encounter blue-billed ruddy ducks diving underwater and a pond crowded with northern pintails, green-winged teals, and black-necked stilts. Throughout the aviaries, signs in English and Spanish explain how the ecosystems support migratory birds on their journeys.