Make a feathered friend at zoo exhibit

Zoo goers can get a close up encounter with exotic birds in a new exhibit at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium that opens today.

Budgie Buddies features more than 100 budgerigars in an open-air, walk-through enclosure. Patrons can purchase $1 seed sticks to feed the colorful Australian parakeets.

“Our goal is to connect people and wildlife every day,” said zoo deputy director John Houck in a press release. “Feeding these adorable birds directly from your hand is a fun and unique way to make that connection.”

If the “feed-the-birds” concept sounds familiar, that’s because it’s based on the zoo’s popular lorikeet exhibit in 2001 and 2002.

The budgies will be housed in the same enclosure where the lorikeets were kept, near the Asian Forest Sanctuary.

The seasonal exhibit will be open through the end of September and will reopen again in May 2010. The zoo is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, go to www.pdza.org.

John Henrikson, The News Tribune