Celebirdy of the Month
Mayor of the Avenue
Avenue Spotlight Award
- Real Name
October 2018 Feathered Estates Highlight
I am very pleased to announce this month's showcased member
1~ What kind of birds do you have and how many birds did you design your setup for?
I have two Amazons, an Indian ringneck and an Alexandrine! The outdoor aviary is designed as a playtime area for all of them.
2~ Is your setup for a handicapped bird?
3~ Are there any budgeting tips you discovered while doing your setup?
I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to collect fresh trees and branches from my own, pesticide free backyard - that's a really great way of saving money on perches and enrichment if you're able to! It takes some knowledge and some semi heavy work (depending on how large trees/branches you want of course) but it does save a lot of money!
For outdoor aviaries specifically it's good to cover the whole thing with a tarp when it's raining so that no perches, and especially rope perches, get wet. Moist rope is a great environment for bacteria and fungi - and you don't want to have to replace those expensive rope climbing nets more than necessary!
Keeping the tarp on one side when it's raining while we're outside is also good so that the birds can choose if they want to be in the rain or not:
4~ Is your setup changeable or stationary and do you add or make changes continually or do things stay primarily as is?
The aviary itself is of course stationary but the set-up changes from time to time - I usually provide new fresh branches, shrubs, twigs etc every other day, new larger tree trunks every few months or so, and I re-arrange and add new toys etc every once in a while.
5~ Where did you find your materials if you made it yourself or where did you purchase the setup and do you have favorite places to purchase safe toys and/or supplies that you find reliable?
I got the aviary from VidaXL, it's the aluminium outdoor aviary in the larger size, 178x242x192cm. I believe it's sometimes available in the UK and AUS but whenever I've looked I haven't found it available from the US. I bought it from their Swedish website.
My favorite place for bird supplies, especially toys and perches, used to be this really great Swedish webshop called Leksaksholken, specifically for parrot supplies. That shop sadly doesn't exist anymore and there's to my knowledge nowhere else to find great quality bird toys in Sweden (through the internet at least) anymore, so I've had to go looking for alternatives outside of Sweden. I've found Scarletts Parrot Essentials (UK) to be really good!
6~ Do you have a favorite item that you bought for your setup?
Except for the actual aviary itself which is absolutely my favorite, I also really like this coconut foraging toy! It's great for sticking twigs and branches in the holes and providing a bit more of a challenge for them to get to the branches - and Drogon (BFA) also just really enjoys hanging upside down and banging the coconuts against eachother.
Most bought toys and perches I keep in their cages or the bird room, though, I tend to use mostly natural branches in the outdoor aviary.
7~ If you made any DIY toys what is your bird(s) favorite and were there any failures?
Any DIY foraging toys are always greatly appreciated - even simple ones like just wrapping some newspaper and sisal string around a carrot or a bundle of radishes and hanging up - or just hanging up a fresh corn on the cob, an organic pomegranate, or a shrub of bilberries (European blueberries) for them to shred, peel, pick and eat for themselves like they would in nature. I also usually recycle the natural branch perches they've "used up" into wooden block toys - Leia (Alexandrine) loves chewing harder wood and these are her absolute favorites. If I make a DIY toy that one bird doesn't take a liking to, there will likely be another one who does - I can't recall anything I've made that none of them liked!
8~ Did you incorporate into your setup any foraging toys and how did your bird(s) take to them and was age or inactivity a factor?
Definitely! They have their shreddable foraging toys in their cages indoors, acrylic foraging toys both indoors and outdoors, and to take full advantage of the aviary I tend to provide the little bit messier foraging opportunities out there - like I mentioned above, picking fresh fruit and berries straight from the branch or shrub is a big one! Every one of my birds really enjoy eating berries off the shrubs, and they'll manage to get to every thinkable spot and position to pick some good berries!
9~ What difficulties did you encounter, if any, and how did you remedy them?
There only being one aviary door, leading straight to the outside! I would have loved some sort of double door system for safety. I generally don't leave the aviary; when the birds are in there, so am I, usually. But when I do step out of or back in to the aviary, I make sure I have a blanket covering the door and the front of the aviary, so that when I do open up the door, everything surrounding the door is a blanket. If a bird were to try and escape (which they have not yet done, but better safe than sorry), they would just hit the blanket instead and I could easily get a hold of them. Not the absolute best solution but it works for now!
There's also no lock from the inside, which is annoying but was easily fixable by attaching a chain.
10~ What do you like least about your set up (if anything)?
It could have been larger! It's big enough - but it would have been a lot easier to move around in there for cleaning and setting up new branches etc if it was a bit more spacious. The birds probably wouldn't mind either
11~ What do you like most about your setup?
I'd wanted an outdoor aviary for years and years - the thing I like the most is simply just the fact that I have an outdoor aviary for my birds! They love it - it especially makes for great visual and auditory enrichment, Drogon and Donnie (Amazons) both LOVE watching and listening to all the children walking past on their way home from school - the kids will stop and talk to them and they will talk back and they really, really love it.
Just spending time outdoors with the birds is really great. I have a chair in the aviary and I'll spend hours in there almost every day with a book or my laptop - it's a very good hanging out spot for both me and the birds!
The birds also love that it's always full of leafy branches for them to pick apart. They do get some of that indoors too but not as much (it's way more convenient to clean up afterwards when you can just rake it all away and leave them in a pile. indoor cleaning up isn't as fun ).
Hanging out and sharing fruits with the birds:
Getting to enjoy some real rain:
12~ Did your bird(s) take to the setup right away or did they approach it tentatively needing time to adjust and do you feel their age was a factor?
Most of them did take to it right away! Drogon (BFA) and Leia (Alexandrine) are both pretty young and adaptable so they never had any problems getting used to all the outdoor sounds etc. Donnie (YCA) I adopted from a family who due to allergies had kept him in a cage outdoors for several years before - so he was already used to being outdoors and was mostly happy to have a larger space with lots of toys and branches. Meg (IRN) took some time, she's always been a pretty nervous and careful bird, but after just a few outdoor visits she warmed up to the idea and now isn't bothered by the sounds, and actually enjoys the sun and the enrichment instead!
13~ Any future renovations planned?
Not to that aviary in particular, no, but I do have another outdoor aviary to build sometime next year hopefully! It's going to be a 10 meter (33 feet) flight training aviary. No toys and just a limited amount of perches, it's going to be a designated area for flying specifically, and mostly active flight training and exercise. I can't wait!