All of our birds lived in the house with us until this past summer. We put six of the birds cages outside on two different decks. Our choice to do this was for the birds' health. None were ill, they were lacking proper daylight and proper sleeping habits.
The oldest of my birds, the 35 year old Blue Front Amazon, Storm, spent some time earlier this year in Florida with Jamie and Dave Womach. During his time with them he had the advantage of spending time in an outdoor aviary at their house. He absolutely loved it. This was the beginning of our thinking about getting outdoor aviaries!
We had acquired two macaws for free flight training and were teaching them and ourselves this awe inspiring process. For outdoor flight training we took a trip to Utah to free fly one of the young macaws, and I watched Storm fly free outdoors for the first time since he came to live with me 12 years ago! He loved it and so did the baby macaw! I was completely hooked!
When we returned home from Utah we also brought with us another baby macaw we call Bonnie. She was very young and going to be trained for outdoor free flight as well. When we got home we now had bird cages all over the place!!! Because Storm had spent time outdoors while in Florida I moved his cage outside during the day…it was still too cold to leave him out at night. We live in the mountains of Virginia.
After having Storm out during the daytime for a while, I put all of the smaller birds in their cages out on the deck full time! The birds seemed to flourish. Their colors came back brighter than ever. One of the birds was a severe feather picker and since he was moved outside he has completely stopped his feather picking.
Soooooo, now we had 5 large macaws still in the house, under “proper” lighting. It was heart breaking to see these majestic birds sitting in cages “in the house”. We had seen the advantages show up in all our smaller birds. But, we just don’t have enough deck spacing for all those cages to go outside. So the search for aviaries began. We looked at so many different types of enclosures and got so confused it is now kind of funny!
We spent about 4 months searching and searching for just the right outdoor aviaries for our birds. We have twelve birds all together. The birds range in size from a little parakeet all the way up to the mighty Hyacinth Macaw. Four of our birds are less than a year old and four others are less than 3 years old. The other four range in age from 12 to 35 years old. All of them are hookbills and except for the parakeet they are all South American birds.
Then, we made the decision of which ones to get! Whoohoooo! Now to order them and have them delivered. That was a major feat in itself! But with the help of two terrific friends we figured out what we needed to order. See, it’s not just the aviaries themselves you need to order. You need to decide what type of feeding system you want, how many and what size perches you are going to want to “start off” with, what type of swings, etc., etc..
Then this really big truck arrived and we needed to get the “HUGE” boxes off the truck! Unless you have a very large driveway or a really big yard, this could be very complicated. We needed a bobcat tractor and four men to get all those wooden boxes off the truck!
Because we were having the outside of the house refinished at the time we put the boxes in the driveway…..
Then we had to wait for the staining of the house to get finished! Boy, did that seem to take forever, especially with those aviaries sitting in those wooden boxes in the driveway! Finally the house got done and now we could begin to open the boxes! There were pieces everywhere!!!!!!
The men putting the aviaries together had to figure out how they went together and then move them to the front yard for placement and assembly. Now the anticipation began to build for us!
OH NOOOOO, we now needed to go find and choose bricks to use as a foundation for the aviaries so they sit level…luckily we only had to visit three places before we found ones we just loved! Thank heavens it didn’t take as long to find the bricks and it did to pick out the aviaries!!!!!!!!
While we were picking out bricks the men were back putting the aviaries together in the front yard! Oh man, it was soooo hard watching them go up and knowing it was still going to be a while before the birds could get into them! Then the man from the place we bought the bricks from had to come out and help figure out how many bricks we needed to order. That took a few days for an appointment! But, once he came he went right back to his store and ordered our bricks! They would arrive in about a week!!!!! Man! This is taking soooooo long!!!!!
Early one morning the following week I was awoken by this rumble in the driveway and one of our dogs barking! The bricks had arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally I thought, we can get these aviaries together! Well, that was three weeks ago and the process is still in motion!!!!!
The front yard now looked like a bomb went off in it!
I thought, 'The anticipation is going to kill me!' The following week the men had all the aviaries about in their proper places and put together, sitting on the grass, waiting for the digging to start for the placement of the blocks! Then, one day they started digging! That was last week.
Then it started to rain, and it rained for days off and on…no more digging…all the work just stopped for about a week! Then, at the beginning of last week the men returned and in what seemed like no time at all they got one wall dug for the aviary that needs the highest foundation wall!
And then, more rains. Work stops for another half a week! Man, how long is this gonna take? Are we ever going to get these birds into the aviaries before it snows?! Ok, a bit dramatic, but the whole process is now going on 5 months!
Yesterday I got up from my desk and looked out the window to see how far the workers had gotten and to my surprise one of the aviaries was sitting on its foundation! Safety enclosure included! It’s not bolted to the foundation yet, but, it is up and on it’s foundation!!!!!! WHOOOOO HOOOOOO
I couldn’t take it any longer! I had to get a bird into that aviary! LOL! So, I took the one bird that had watched the whole process happen and walked with him into the aviary! He was so excited. Storm had been in the ones in Florida! He knew right away what it was. When I put him down in the grass he made this almost crying sound! Then he looked up and around! He had to get to the walls! He had to climb in that aviary! So, I put him on the cage part and up he headed! Because of the height of the aviary wall, I had to stop him and take him off.
I sat with Storm in the aviary and played with him for about half an hour! He was in heaven! My husband was in the aviary with us taking pictures and normally Storm would have not been so nice to John, but, he was so happy to be there Storm even posed himself on my shoulder looking pretty just for John to take a picture. And when I put Storm on the ground again, he just walked around and never once showed any aggression towards John!
The workers spent today getting the foundation started under aviary #2! It looks like they will have that one done tomorrow if the rain holds out!
Since the workers left about 45 minutes ago Storm has been yelling, talking and screaming to be let out and brought into the aviary again today! I guess I am gonna have to take the old boy in for another jaunt around the aviary!!!!!
These aviaries are from Cages by Design.
Jeanne has worked as an animal care taker all of her life. The most notorious of her flock is amazon parrot “Storm” - who is featured in many BirdTricks videos and posts.