Jimmy Pichner, a 30-year veteran at the Minnesota Zoo, manages the wild birds, including more than 300 from Asia that live in the 1.5-acre aviary.

"We want things to act natural. I want a visitor to be able to come in here and see the Nicobar pigeons courting and building a nest and incubating the eggs. They won't do that if they're too keyed into what we're doing.

"The birds are much more at ease with the keeper staff than they are with me. I walk up here, and all the birds do one of these looks -- 'Oh no, why is he here? When he is here, bad stuff happens. Birds disappear, and we never see them again.' If something is sick ... I come up, we chase it around, we catch it. We take it down to the lab to have the vets look at it. All the bird is thinking, even though we're trying to make it feel better, is 'This is the worst day of my life.' But there are a few birds that are around from when I was a keeper, and they still think I'm OK."

Pictured: Annoyed that he'd gotten too close to their nest, a pair of spurwinged lapwings scolded Pichner.