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Outdoor Parakeet Aviary

Destiny

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Most of my quail pictures turn out really terrible because they are so fast and close to the ground. They will get quite close to me if I stand still and they aren't even that worried about me when I am walking around the aviary. If fact, I think that I am more scared of stepping on them than they are scared of being stepped on. :eek: It is a genuine concern.

But if I move in for a close-up or try to line up a good picture, they are gone before I can snap off a shot! Half the time, the quail are just a beige blur. Also, they love to hang out right under where the parakeets roost, so the floor is always such a mess, I'm too embarrassed to post the pictures. :depressed:

That being said, I do have a few decent quail close-ups.

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And just in case all these close-up gave the false impression that button quail are big ... here is a distance shot.

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Gosh, they are so darn precious. I just love 'em.
 

Destiny

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Quails eggs are my fav oops! And that pancake looks really good :starscfe:

Your button quails have very pretty colours :laugh:
Almost everything on that plate came from our farm, except the flour in the pancake. The pancakes are made with blueberries I picked this morning and my mom's sourdough starter. And the green things are fresh figs from our tree.

It was a delicious homemade breakfast. I felt so blessed. :D

...

Also, I finally found a fruit that my picky parakeets like - fresh fig! Which is honestly not that surprising. Anyone who has seen the inside of a fig knows that they are like 90% seeds!
 

clarousel

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Almost everything on that plate came from our farm, except the flour in the pancake. The pancakes are made with blueberries I picked this morning and my mom's sourdough starter. And the green things are fresh figs from our tree.

It was a delicious homemade breakfast. I felt so blessed. :D

...

Also, I finally found a fruit that my picky parakeets like - fresh fig! Which is honestly not that surprising. Anyone who has seen the inside of a fig knows that they are like 90% seeds!
Omg jealous... my dream is to live in a farm one day... a dream it is...

Eeks what is the name of the penguin-esque quail? They're all such adorable balls of fluff! :xflove:
 

Destiny

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** Sad Update **

I'm afraid I have some bad news. I lost a bird. One of my finches died during the night/early morning. He was fine the day before, when I did my evening walk-through. But when I looked in on the birds in the morning, he was missing. At first, I thought he was hiding or escaped somehow, but then I found his body. :(

It was Blaze, my orange headed gouldian finch.

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He seemed perfectly healthy and happy when I last saw him. He was singing on a branch and flying around actively with his best mate, Crimson. I do not think he was ill. And none of the other birds show any sign of illness.

Unfortunately, I do think I know how he died and I am at fault. I found him dead in this corner near the entry door, under the window.

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When I constructed the aviary, I covered the other window with coated wire as a protection, in case a bird flew into the glass. But I decided this window was less of a risk, because it is smaller and pretty opaque (i.e. dirty). And I was worried about putting up wire next to the door, in case a bird landed on the wire and flew out while I was going in or out. I didn't see birds having a problem with the window during their initial crazy flying. They mostly avoided that corner because there are no perches or easy spots to land by design, so I didn't think it was necessary to cover the window.

I think that Blaze must have flown into the glass, either during the night or early morning and broken his neck. He either didn't see the glass or was spooked into flying toward it. It would explain the location of his body and his sudden death. I feel terrible because, if that is how he died, I could have easily prevented it by covering both windows. I did realize there was a danger, but I talked myself out of doing simple preventative measures and it cost a life.

In the background of this picture, you can see the other window covered by mesh. I should have done this on both windows.

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I wish I had a time machine, so I could go back and fix my mistakes. :( I have put up wire mesh now, but it is too late to save my finch. He was too young to die.

R.I.P Blaze. You will be missed.

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Sleep well, little buddy. You will be missed.

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Lady Jane

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Blaze was a beautiful Finch. I am sorry you lost him. Keeping an aviary safe must be a full time job in addition to caring for all the birdies.
 

Karen

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I hear the pain in your words. I'm so very sorry for your loss. :bighug:
 

tka

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I'm so sorry for your loss. Blaze's life was not a long one, but I am sure it was a very happy one.
 

Destiny

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Thank you all for the kind words. I really appreciate it.

There have been no further losses, so I think I correctly identified the problem and it is fixed. Everyone is doing well.

In fact, I am happy to report that Misty is getting her flight feathers back and starting to fly! She is one of the birds who was severely clipped by a pet store before I got her. She had NO primaries at all, just little stubby wings, so it took forever for the feathers to grow back to a point where she could even arrest her falls.
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I started to notice her making glides and controlled descents first. Then the other day I caught her on a perch that is inaccessible from the ground. And the other day, I actually witnessed her achieve sustained upward flight! I am so happy for her. She is not as nimble as my other fliers, but she is making steady progress as the feathers come back in.

I am watching the other birds for progress and I think Sparkle is also flight-capable. Sparkle and Goldie are hard to tell apart (both lutino), but I think Sparkle is starting to fly now. Goldie has primaries, but they are uneven lengths. Her coordination is poor, so she flies rarely. Sparkle was clipped and could not fly. She is starting to experiment more and getting much better.

I've also been working on "hand taming" the birds. A tricky challenge in an aviary setting. So far I am starting with luring them to me using millet sprays or treat sticks. I think they are starting to get the right idea.

At a training session earlier this week, Big Bertha was the first to take the bait.

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She was soon joined by Johnny Girl and Kiwi.

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Then I got a surprise visit from Sparkle, showing off her flight capabilities.

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And then Skye joined the party.

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Even Jasper the Finch wanted a piece!

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I think I could have gotten the whole flock on my arm, if there had been enough room. It was pretty amazing. Everyone wants some of that sweet sweeeet millet!

Speaking of the whole flock, I took this picture of (almost) everyone hanging out om the rope perches, enjoying the cool spray from the misting system. It has been such a hot summer. Keeping cool has been a struggle. I'm so glad I have a water faucet right in the aviary, so I can get them cooling mist easily.

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Sodapop&Co.

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Wow. Unreal. So cool! And wonderful for these clipped birds to go to such a wonderful new life :loveshower:
 

Destiny

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I was so appalled when I realized how severely these poor birds had been clipped. This is a comparison shot of Kiwi (left) and Opal (right).

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Notice how stubby and short Opal's wings look? She is completely missing half of her wing.

And this is Misty and Sparkle who all came from the same pet shop with the same horrible wing clip:

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I'd had them for several months at this point and you can just barely see some flight feathers starting to peek out from behind their other feathers. This picture was taken on the birds' first day in the aviary in July.

I'm just so glad they can finally start to experience the joys of flight. :)
 

Destiny

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**Aviary Training Update**

I've been having fun with more training exercises lately, which is code for "giving the birds fun snacks if they will land on me".

Millet luring has been quite successful so far.

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So I decided to up the stakes and see if anybody would accept oat groats from the palm of my hand.

They were a little leery at first since this was the first time I've tried this and it is a brand new treat item for them.

As usual, Kiwi was ready to take one for the team by tasting the potentially poisonous offerings. After he broke the ice, I had a few more brave souls approach.

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And then a couple more ...

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And soon it was a party.

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I was especially surprised by Lemondrop. She is one of my most timid parakeets. Yet she not only approached my hand, she climbed on board!

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I was so impressed. I didn't expect her to trust me so much. Getting Kiwi or Sparkle onto my hand is not that hard, but Lemondrop was very unexpected.

...


A few days later, I decided to up the difficulty again.

This time, I offered seed in my hand in the middle of the room, instead of bringing my offering up next to a perch. I wanted to see if any birds would land right on me.

Can you guess who was first?

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If you guessed Kiwi, then you have been paying attention. He was soon joined by Big Bertha and Skye.

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My open hand was not as popular of a landing spot as the millet spray, but I was able to attract several birds in succession.

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My ultimate goal of some day raising my arms to summon a colorful flock of tamed parakeets is slowly approaching fruition.

A girl can dream ....
 

Sparkles99

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These pictures are wonderful. Thank you for sharing, especially in the middle of the pandemic! Sorry to hear about your little finch. Any bird who lived here had a good life.
 

mak

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**Aviary Training Update**

I've been having fun with more training exercises lately, which is code for "giving the birds fun snacks if they will land on me".

Millet luring has been quite successful so far.

View attachment 351446

So I decided to up the stakes and see if anybody would accept oat groats from the palm of my hand.

They were a little leery at first since this was the first time I've tried this and it is a brand new treat item for them.

As usual, Kiwi was ready to take one for the team by tasting the potentially poisonous offerings. After he broke the ice, I had a few more brave souls approach.

View attachment 351447

And then a couple more ...

View attachment 351448

And soon it was a party.

View attachment 351449

I was especially surprised by Lemondrop. She is one of my most timid parakeets. Yet she not only approached my hand, she climbed on board!

View attachment 351451

I was so impressed. I didn't expect her to trust me so much. Getting Kiwi or Sparkle onto my hand is not that hard, but Lemondrop was very unexpected.

...


A few days later, I decided to up the difficulty again.

This time, I offered seed in my hand in the middle of the room, instead of bringing my offering up next to a perch. I wanted to see if any birds would land right on me.

Can you guess who was first?

View attachment 351453

If you guessed Kiwi, then you have been paying attention. He was soon joined by Big Bertha and Skye.

View attachment 351455

My open hand was not as popular of a landing spot as the millet spray, but I was able to attract several birds in succession.

View attachment 351456

My ultimate goal of some day raising my arms to summon a colorful flock of tamed parakeets is slowly approaching fruition.

A girl can dream ....
Looks like you have a finch who thinks he's a budgie! :lol:Great update and pics, thanks for sharing!
 
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alshgs

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I love this so much! I'm sorry for the loss of Blaze.

Your aviary is so beautiful. I would love to do something like this for some finches, parakeets & quail :)
 
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Mybluebird

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Sounds great! Not sure if I have a problem with my computer but I can't see any of the pictures from Sat on. :crycry2:

OK- I got them now! I have to right click each one and "load image".
 

Mybluebird

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I love looking at all your birds. The quails are amazing - the grey ones seem to disappear into the background. Isn't it so nice to have the budgies land on you?
 

Destiny

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**One Year Update**

I spent almost the whole day in my aviary today, listening to the birds sing and watching their silly antics while I cleaned and planted spring flowers. It got me thinking and I realized that it has been about a full year since I made the decision to convert our unused greenhouse into a dedicated space for birds. It took me a couple months to get everything ready for the move into the aviary, but I started this project and set everything in motion in late March 2020.

That got me thinking about this thread and I figured now was as good a time as any to do an update and look back over the journey so far. Plus it gives me the chance to share some pictures of what the aviary looks like now and let you know how all the birds are doing in their new home.

The aviary doesn't look too different, although you can see that I've switched to using paper because it was too cold to rinse the floor with water during winter. With the weather warming up, I will have to decide if I want to keep using paper or switch back to sweeping and rinsing. Not sure yet.

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Let's see ... it has been an eventful year. First off, I do have some sad news to report. Although the majority of my birds made it through last year unscathed, despite the wildfires, weird weather, and general craziness of 2020, another of my Lady Gouldian finches died unexpected in the late fall. It was my silver finch, Sterling. He was one of my favorites and best friend to my yellow finch Jasper. Sterling was such a sweet curious little guy and a joy to have in the aviary. He will be missed. :(

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I am not sure what caused his death. There were no signs of illness in any of the other aviary inhabitants afterwards and I didn't notice anything off with Sterling on the days proceeding his demise. The only thing that stands out in my mind is that one of my neighbors was doing brush burning that day and there was smoke in the air. It might not have been related, but it pains me to think that my birds would survive all the wildfire smoke we experienced earlier in the year, only to have one die to a little smoke from a burn pile in someone's backyard. Just not fair. Sterling was a young finch and should have had many more years ahead of him.

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Sterling is survived by Jasper and Crimson, my two remaining finches. I am also down to just two button quail, but that was a choice. Of the original four, only one was female (Terra) and the other three were all confirmed to be male by behavior (Slate, Clay, and Geo). The three boys were chasing Terra relentlessly and fighting amongst themselves, so I made the decision to rehome two of them to restore peace to the aviary. Geo was the lucky man who got the girl. For the other two, I found a nice lady who was looking for a pair of button quail to keep as pets. She was very excited to meet Clay and Slate and start her button quail adventure. We've kept in touch a bit through Facebook and they look happy in their new home. Without Terra to fight over, they are getting along fine and they are being well cared for by a kind and attentive keeper.

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Lastly, I lost one of my female parakeets. Johnny Girl, my pretty green girl, went missing one day in late October. I went out to check on the birds as I always do and couldn't find her. Searched everywhere, but she was gone.

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I discovered a hole in the back wall of the aviary where a piece of wood that was not properly secured had fallen out. It was about the right size for a parakeet to squeeze through, so I assume that was how she made her escape. All of the other parakeets were properly accounted for and I patched up the hole as soon as I noticed the missing bird. She was sighted by a neighbor about a mile from my house, roosting in the rafters of his barn, but hasn't been seen since. I kept hoping she would find her way back or get found by someone else, but it has been too many cold months since she went missing to hold out much hope at this point. Fly high, Johnny Girl.

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My other twelve budgies are doing fine and made it through their first winter in the aviary safely. Actually, I should say ten budgies, because two of my budgies stayed in my bedroom rather than the aviary. I moved Lemondrop and Goldie into the house in the early winter for health reasons.

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When I first moved the budgies out into the aviary, some of them couldn't fly due to a severe wing clip received at the pet shop I got them from. Lemondrop's wings were NOT clipped when I got her, but she was also flightless. It was harder to tell when she was cage-bound because she was such a good climber, but once she was in the aviary, her flight disability was much more obvious. I initially hoped that she was simply a slow learner or maybe she was clipped too young before I got her and never properly fledged. But her flying abilities did not improve with time or practice. She could climb around like a monkey all day long, but if she tried to fly, she would drop like a stone. Despite her lack of flight, Lemondrop could navigate around the aviary surprisingly well and appeared to be quite happy, so I was going to keep her with the other aviary birds, but she took a bad fall off a high perch and suffered a keel injury. I moved her into an indoor cage to monitor her during her recovery, along with Goldie for companionship.

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They were good cage mates. Sometimes bickering like an old married couple but always together, grooming, preening, and feeding each other often. Lemondrop is very hand-shy, so I took this opportunity to work with them together. If I could get Goldie to eat millet, Lemondrop would be brave enough to come over for a few bites. I wouldn't go so far as to say she likes me, but Lemondrop is not completely terrified of me now. Progress! :D

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Over the winter months, I have been considering ways to keep Lemondrop safe in the aviary and have come up with a plan for padding the hard concrete under the main perching areas where she is at most risk of falling. I am already putting down paper in that area, so it will be easy to do. The padding can go under the paper and should cushion any serious falls. I have just been waiting until the weather is warmer to try moving the two yellow girls back into the main aviary. And today is the big day!

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I put their cage out in the aviary and let the other budgies inspect the new arrivals. They must have passed inspection, because everyone got bored after about half an hour and went back to what they were doing before ... which is mostly chewing on the walls, floor and ceiling non-stop, because everybody has spring fever and wants to carve a nest cavity out of my poor aviary.

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Yes, I see what you two are doing up there, girls. Please stop. Huh ... what is that grinding sound I hear behind me?

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Hey! I see you guys, too! Don't eat the walls!

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Sigh ... you are too darn cute. Fine, fine. Eat the walls. I need to buy more chew toys asap.

Oh look, Snowball found some fresh wood! The urge to chew is strong in that one.

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Anyways, I decided it was time to release the yellow girls, so I opened the door. And of course, they ignored the open door completely. I am not sure why it still surprises me when this happens. I should be used to it by now.

Eventually, June noticed the door was open and she came inside for a look around. Noticed they had some tasty seeds just laying around uneaten and decided to help herself.

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I went back to my work, while monitoring the goings on. Besides releasing budgies and cleaning the aviary today, my main task is planting some pretty pansies and red gerbera daisies for the birds. Most of the plants I planted last year were annuals so they didn't survive the winter and I lost a few of the perennials too, so the aviary is looking a little too sparse. It needs a splash of color.

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That's much better!

I still have the apple tree, fig tree, flowering currant, dwarf blueberry and citrus trees. I plan on trying some hanging baskets later on this year. For now, this is a start.

Speaking of starts, Goldie started to go out of the cage, but went back in when Lemondrop didn't follow her out.

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These girls are just too precious for words. I am going to hang out in here for the rest of the afternoon to make sure they are settling in okay. Perfect opportunity to write up a long post.

But I just hit the limit on photo attachments (didn't know there was a limit!), so I will continue in a second post. I must upload more bird pictures. Pictures are life!
 

Kiwi's Mom

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year since you built this!

:thewave:
 
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