For more than 100 years, there has been a rescue aviary in Bournemouth’s lower gardens. Now, volunteers are raising funds for a more comfortable bird sanctuary that would replace current aviary built 50 years ago…
The aviary is in its final stretch of raising £200,000 for a new bird enclosure. “We are short of £40,000,” said Anne Maton, Fundraising Manager for the aviary.
The half-century-old building is home to nearly 400 exotic birds. A variety of finches, parakeets, and parrots were re-homed when their owners could not take care of them due to ill health or age.
On the left side of the house live small and timid birds. More lively birds such as zebra finches and budgerigars live on the right side. Parrots live in the central section.
There are also a few endangered species, such as an Australian male Gouldian finch. Current estimates suggest that less than 2,500 Gouldian finches remain in the wild. Two yellow-headed Amazon parrots, Posh and Ziggy, are also listed as endangered species. “Amazon parrots love talking to the visitors; they can even mimic different accents,” said Maton.
There is currently no breeding programme. However, on an occasional spring, when love is in the air, volunteers find nests with chirping chicks.
CHATTY BIRDS LOVED BY RESIDENTS AND TOURISTS
The aviary is a much-loved attraction in the gardens. Residents and tourists have loved visiting the birds for decades. Some visitors remember coming here with their grandparents, and now they bring their children to look at the colourful and chatty birds.
“It is part of the historic and authentic Bournemouth. I kept bringing my children here for years; it allows seeing the birds from a very close distance,” said Poole resident Sally Sherry.
Bournemouth resident Natasha Greenwood has been coming to look at the birds since 1998. “It is good for the soul to see so many lovely birds,” she said. “I have kept coming to see Amazon parrot Posh since 2005. He is an intelligent bird and can speak. I am looking forward to seeing a new aviary built. It would improve birds’ living conditions dramatically”.
“The birds help people to feel connected to nature,” added Maton.
A larger, sustainably built aviary will replace the old one at the same space, and it will allow more flight space for the birds. Visitors can walk around the building and get a 360° view.
The aviary is run by volunteers and supported by donations. If the fundraiser is successful, construction of the new aviary should start in the spring of 2021.
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