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A little love for the underbirds

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A macaw at the Hawaiian Festival & Tropical Bird Expo.
Photo: Laura Davis

Every year the same conventions come to town and set up shop near the Strip, flooding Las Vegas Boulevard with badge-wearing, bag-toting conventioneers. Between the popular porn convention and the comic book titans overtaking the Las Vegas Convention Center, there isn’t much room leftover for the underdogs – or, in this case, underbirds.

A couple members of the "The Bird Club."

A couple members of the "The Bird Club."

Throughout the year a few lesser-known conventions manage to stake their claim on Las Vegas via the Henderson Convention Center. Here the runts of the convention scene have a place to call home for the day. On Sunday, one of these often over-looked annual gatherings set up shop on Water Street: the Hawaiian Festival & Tropical Bird Expo.

Honoring the island lifestyle and winged mascots from both sides of the equator, the convention hosted by the Las Vegas Avicultural Society, aka "The Bird Club," since 1977, secured an appropriate site for itself after 32 years. In the past, the Henderson Convention Center has stuck up its nose at the idea of bringing in live animals.

Hawaiian Festival & Tropical Bird Expo.

Hawaiian Festival & Tropical Bird Expo.

With the new venue allowing more space and more public access, the Weekly was able to fly by and check out all it had to offer. Here are three reasons we’re glad we hung-up our favorite super-hero costume and stashed the porn magazine back under the bed in favor of some feathery friends.

-Birds were not only on display but some were also up for sale. There’s no better pet than one that allows you to talk to it about your day and still feel sane knowing it has the capability to actually respond. Even if it is just to say it wants a cracker.

An African Grey Parrot at the Hawaiian Festival & Tropical Bird Expo.

An African Grey Parrot at the Hawaiian Festival & Tropical Bird Expo.

-A plethora of toys, cages and treats were available to buy and at discount prices – like 50 percent off on a bird cage normally priced at $900. After you realize you’ve spent all your money on the house and don’t actually have money left over for an inhabitant, you can just lure one of the unofficial state birds, the elusive pigeon, inside to fill it out.

-A Buffet of authentic Island food was available free of charge, the highlight being the margarita machine in the corner. Authentic? Maybe not. Delicious? Definitely.

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