Ok, you have finally picked out the perfect type of outdoor aviary for your parrot to spend his days basking in the sun and taking in all the outdoor sights and sounds… let me just say Congratulations on making one of the most important decisions you can make for your pet parrot!!!!
I’m sure you have some toys and some really exciting ideas for decorating your bird's new “outdoor” world. You are now completely excited and just can’t wait for the day it arrives and you can put it together and get your bird into it.
Before you go ordering all those exciting toys and decorations please take a moment or two to look around and think very seriously about where you are going to put your new aviary. Whether you bought a huge enclosure or just a larger cage you can move around in your yard, think very seriously about how birds live in the wild…they are always looking up!!! They always know what is over their heads in the sky and the trees around them. Please do this before placing your aviary in your yard.
If you live in a place that has tons of space or in a city condo or even a close neighborhood think about what you have seen around you when you are outside yourself.
If you have a deck without a roof, think about how hot it can get in the direct sunlight, think about the trees in your yard (do they drop branches, leaves, pine cones, etc.). If you live in a condo and you have a small deck, look up towards the roof of the building, does the rain run off the roof in sheets onto your deck when it rains? Can your bird get out of the sunlight into shade when it needs or wants to? Which direction does the wind come from the strongest when those sudden storms kick up out of nowhere?
If you live in a close neighborhood, how close will your aviary be to your neighbors' bedroom window if you put it in that corner of your yard that has the best morning sun and late afternoon shade?
In many areas, smaller yards are now surrounded by privacy fencing of one sort or another. If you have this type of yard do squirrels, cats, raccoons or other like animals tend to climb onto the top of the fence and walk around the top? Can these animals jump from the fence to your aviary? Depending on your aviary choice, these animals may not be able to reach your parrots, but they sure can scare the heck out of them! Will your perfect spot be under a tree that drops branches when the wind gets strong?If you have tons of space and a huge yard out in the country, do you have many predatory birds in your area? Do you have night time predators that may attempt to get at your birds cages overnight? And, don’t forget those high winds that kick up out of nowhere! The really strong winds can actually take the roof right off your beautiful aviary!
Even if you are just buying a different cage to keep outside for your bird please take all this and so much more into consideration before you set it up and put your birds into them.
Your birds will need both sunny and shaded areas to get to for as much of the day as possible. In hot areas of the country you will need to think about making sure your birds can cool off during hot hours of the day. You may want to think about some sort of misting system for the aviary in hot areas.
Placement of your new aviary will take a lot of serious thought from you. Please spend some extra time and look at where you are going to place your aviary from every angle you possibly can, and then think even harder and longer! It pays off in the long run.
Something you really want to consider is if you live in an area that gets snow. We had to remove the roofing off our aviaries this winter because of snow accumulation! Three of the roofing panels on one aviary were damaged in about three hours from heavy snow fall. We will have to put them back up again in another month or two to get the aviaries ready for the birds to go back outside when the weather warms up enough. And for those who think, “It hasn’t snowed that much here in twenty years,” well, that’s what we thought when we put ours up this past summer!
Also if you live in an area that has springs or streams running through your property, think about what “could” happen if you got heavy rains for days on end!!! Could the stream possibly overflow its banks and reach your aviaries?! That could be a disaster! And it does and has happened. People have lost not only their aviaries, but their beloved birds as well! Flash floods are horrible and they do happen. I have not seen this for myself, but, I have heard of a horrible situation this past year where not only were the aviaries partially if not totally destroyed, but the birds inside them were killed!
I can’t stress to you enough that placement of your aviary is critical. Especially if it is a permanent placement. For those of you using one you can move around you don’t have quite as much to worry about, but for those of you putting up permanent ones, think about how cruel mother nature can be at times before you place your bird's environment on your property.
Even though most of our beloved pet parrots are tropical in nature, they come from a history of being able to get from one place to another when they need to during different times of the day on their own. Our pets rely on us to provide this for them. All that expensive lighting advertised as “indoor sunlight” for your parrot is never going to replace the real thing. Putting your bird's cage near a window for more sunlight is not even close to direct sunlight either.
There are safe ways to transport your bird from inside your house to its new outdoor aviary. One very inexpensive way is to get your bird used to going into a “pet carrier”, such as a dog or cat crate. You can get one cheaply at either Petsmart or Petco or look online for an even cheaper possibility. All these new and exciting things take time to teach your bird to get used to. Winter is a great time to start getting your bird used to going into a carrier. You can teach them that they can get their favorite treat inside the crate and you can take them for a short ride in the car and return home safe and sound and happy. Remember, birds in the wild get tons of different sights and sounds every hour of everyday. As captive pets, it is up to us to provide this for them in order to make them happy and to give them the stimuli they need.
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.