Category: Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Balloons on Prospect Lake

Dancing on the Water

Dusty Shutt, once again is lending her time and talents to the Colorado Balloon Classic which is celebrating its 35th year this Labor Day weekend in Memorial Park in Colorado Springs, CO. This year marks the fifth year that Dusty has worked on the leadership team that brings the largest air show in Colorado to Colorado Springs. Dusty serves on the team as the souvenir program designer and liaison to Pikes Peak Community College for the Colorado Balloon Classic’s annual poster and cover design contests.

Pigeon resting on a tape line

Pre-flight Rest

Founded in 1977, the event was called “America the Beautiful Cup” Balloon Race and flew from the Black Forest Glider Port to the top of Pikes Peak. It was held on the July 4th weekend and had 26 hot air balloons registered. The name of the event has changed until 1982 when it became the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic and remained so until 2003 when it finally landed on it’s current name, Colorado Balloon Classic. Over the years many types of air vehicles have flown at the Classic including gas balloons, helicopters, para gliders, a hover craft as well as the hot air balloons.

Over the past 35 years there have been many memorable happenings, the details which can be found in 2011 Official Souvenir Program on sale during the event. To commemorate the event the program has been expanded to 80 pages. Inside you’ll find images of several of the special shaped balloons that have flown over the years; fascinating facts about the events past as well as biographies on our pilots. Our standard features are there, too, including details about our Entertainment, our Photo Contest Winners, Balloon Photos and our Sponsors. This year’s program is packed full!

Balloons flying over Prospect Lake

Flyin' High

WEATHER PERMITTING, the hot air balloons will launch each morning of Labor Day weekend at sunrise (at approximately 7:00 a.m.) in 2 waves. Then on Saturday and Sunday evenings there will be a Glo at 8:00 p.m. Memorial Park in Colorado Springs will open at 6:00 a.m. to the public and close its morning session around 10:00 a.m. It will re-open at 4:00 p.m. for afternoon activities and then close at 10:00 p.m. No “Classic” activities will be happening in the park between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. although the park itself will be open to the public. Please be aware of the following city ordinance for Memorial Park on the Labor Day weekend: There are NO PETS OF ANY TYPE allowed in the park. Also, there is NO SMOKING… (cigarettes, cigars and other forms of smoking materials and propane gas don’t mix well).

White tigers resting

Lazy Afternoon

Even though Dusty, is focusing on the upcoming Colorado Balloon Classic, she hasn’t forgotten about the tigers. She is currently preparing tiger images for an upcoming show in September at Stargazers Theatre. She will have images of Sumatran Tigers, Malayan Tigers, Amur Tigers and Bengal Tigers hanging during an upcoming fundraising event for Serenity Springs Wildlife Center.


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Dusty Shutt’s animated images of these sweet tempered, good-natured Blue Hyacinth Macaws were taken at the Fort Worth Zoo. The Parrot Paradise Exhibit is a free flying avaiary where visitors see hundreds of colorful birds up-close-and-personal.

Hyacinth Macaws by Dusty R ShuttPhotography by Dusty Shutt
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Notes on caring and feeding of Blue Hyacinth Macaws:

Hyacinths need more fat in their diet and this can be offered to the birds in many forms. Macadamia nuts and filbert, which are high in calcium, are a great choice since Hyacinths need a higher quantity of calcium than most other parrots. Coconut in season or coconut milk introduced slowly into their diet quickly becomes a favorite food. In addition to the nuts, it is imperative to continue to feed foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals like sweet potatoes and leafy greens.

Hyacinth Macaw Preening by Dusty R ShuttPhotography by Dusty Shutt
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Need more Macaws?

More information, including some remarkable video of Blue Hyacinth and other rare parrots can be found at the Lexicon of Parrots, a publishing house specializing in books about parrots. One of the most charming videos contains footage of  a colorful Camiguin Hanging Parrot from the Camigun Island in the Phillipines.

Hyacinth Macaws Playing by Dusty R ShuttPhotography by Dusty Shutt
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Tony Pittman’s Blue Macaw, along with more than 400 photos and 50 articles about Blue Hyacinth Macaws,  has breeding updates on rare pairs and some cool links to movie trailers of an animated film about a blue macaw – ostensibly a Spix’s Macaw – available on YouTube.

Greater One Horn (Indian) Rhino - Joya - by Dusty R Shutt

Joya, Greater One Horn (Indian) Rhino

Joya, is the Greater One Horned Rhinoceros that resides at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in Salina, KS. The greater one-horned rhino lives in northern India and southern Nepal. In both areas, the species mainly inhabits riverine (flood plain) grasslands and occasionally utilizes some adjacent woodland. It is listed as a vulnerable species, which has been categorized as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve. Indian rhinos have few natural enemies, except for tigers (Bengals) who sometimes kill unguarded calves, but adult rhinos are less vulnerable due to their size.

As the name suggests, greater one-horned rhinos have a single horn 8 to 24 inches (20 to 61 cm) long. So where’s Joya’s horn? Was it cut off? The answer is no, it wasn’t cut off. Joya, when he gets moody starts scraping his horn against different hard surfaces and wears it down.

Joya's Paintings by Dusty R Shutt

Joya, Greater One Horn (Indian) Rhino Paintings

Joya had some dental problems that needed to be addressed. To help make the procedures less stressful, Zookeepers decided to train him to do certain behaviors. The began by teaching him to hold his mouth open and then to let the veterinarian file one of his front teeth. But his upper lip kept getting in the way.* So they began teaching him to “target” his lip onto a piece of paper. And while they were at it, why not add paint and see if Joya would like to paint? At first Joya was adverse to the taste, smell, and texture of the paint. Through operant conditioning (lots of sweet potatoes) and patience, he overcame that reluctance and began enjoying the painting procedure. Any of Joya’s works of art can be yours.

*The upper lip is semi-prehensile, well-adapted to grasping branches and leaves.

Let's Play Mom!It was a hot day at the Pittsburgh Zoo when Dusty Shutt managed to photograph a 6 month old  Amur Tiger cub wrestling with her mother in the Asian Forest Exhibit.

Dusty is well known for her skill at photographing wildlife at play and her shots of these captivating Amur Tigers  (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as Siberian Tigers shows why. Her ability to catch the big cats at just the right moment takes dedication, patience and a keen eye as her extensive collection of tiger photographs for sale demonstrates.

Amur Tigers CuddlingIf you want to see the  Siberian tigers cuddling together, as the mother and child in Dusty’s photo above shows or just playing around, the Pittsburgh Zoo offers a special Facebook Fan Night for visitors.  Social media followers will have the Zoo all to themselves with behind the scenes visits with the tiger cubs and giraffes.

There will also be opportunities for free photos with an elephant, and at night’s end, watch one or both of the polar bears to go for a swim.

The FAQ from the Pittsburgh Zoo for Facebook Fan Night says:

Will I get to pet the tiger cubs?
Definitely not. Though only 8 months old, our cubs have extremely sharp teeth and claws. It’s no longer safe for our keepers to be in an area with them, much less visitors. But you will have access to a behind the scenes area where you will get to see them up close and take pictures.

Do I need to bring a camera?
If you want a photo with the elephant, you must bring your own camera. Normally elephant photos are $10. On Facebook Fan Night, they’re free.

Will the polar bear definitely be in the water?
While we can’t force him to go for a swim, he almost always goes in when there is fish in the water.

For more information about this and other truly special events at the Pittsburgh Zoo, check out their blog.

For more of Dusty’s collection of unusual and unique Amur Tiger Photographs, visit her other site, The Forest’s Edge.

(Image from Cheynne Mountain Zoo)

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo experienced an irreplaceable loss Friday, May 27, 2011, when Elson, the zoo’s 16-year-old male African lion, passed away. Born in the wild at Kapama Reserve, located next to the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa,  his legacy will live on. Elsoncontributed critical founder genetics to the North American Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) through his 13 cubs and at least seven grandcubs.

His descendents live at Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities all across the U.S., including Abilene, Bronx, Pueblo, San Francisco, Minot, Tulsa, Akron, Baltimore, Birmingham, and here in Colorado Springs.

A Tribute to Elson

Some new Tigers and Polar Bear images are coming.

Meesca and Sosa at the Water’s Edge Exhibit.

Amur(Siberian Tigers) at the Asian Forest Exhibit