(WVUE) - Mr. Miyagi, a six-month-old Eurasian Eagle Owl, learned to fly in a most unusual venue.
"He has naturally learned how to fly as a fledgling just as he would in the wild," said Lindsay Ezell, Assistant Curator of Animal Ambassadors.
However, the zoo borrowed the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to give the owl more advanced lessons in flight.
The bird will display his flying skills in the years ahead as part of Audubon's animal ambassador program.
Mr. Miyagi is one of about 140 animals in the program, which provides unique, up-close experiences to Zoo visitors.
Eurasian eagle owls are one of the world's largest species of owl in the world.
The eagle has a lifespan of 20 years in the wild but can live to be 60 years of age in captivity, according to the zoo.
Eagle owls often nest on cliffs and ledges, although they will sometimes take over the abandoned nests of Golden Eagles, according to aviary.org.
They are found throughout Europe and Asia and are not considered to be under any threat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as a species of "least concern."