SCOTLAND NECK, N.C. — It was well into winter, and after weeks of grim headlines and overcast skies, I decided the only cure for a badly bruised equilibrium was a flock of flying things with amazing feathers.
The drab sparrows and robins outside our windows just weren’t doing the trick. A situation this dire required a shot of spring’s iridescent blue, startling orange and lemon yellow. With a nod of apology to my birding binoculars, my husband Anders and I grabbed our coats and drove to the zoo.
But not just any zoo. The 18-acre Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Eastern North Carolina is home to nearly 300 species, mostly rare, spanning five continents.
Right at the entrance, a herd of lanky Caribbean Flamingos, each one attired in a ballet-skirt flounce of pinkish-orange feathers, stood perfectly still for as long as we wanted to watch.
The flamingos turned out to be a mere appetizer in this colorful feast. In a nearby enclosure was the Scarlet Ibis, decked out in a deeply hued combo of peach and coral.
These birds were more than enough to overhaul my mood, but the tour would go on in similar fashion over the next couple of hours. Anders needed to be prodded loose from one display area to the next. For a photographer used to wild birds, these tasty morsels were sitting ducks. “I feel like I’m cheating,” he said.