I have wanted an aviary since I was a child and obsessed with the one in my Grandads garden. He had canaries, finches and some funny little quail at the bottom, pecking up all of the dropped seed. I can still remember it now – a rickety structure he put together with old pieces of wood and rusty chicken wire- my grandad was good at building things like that.
This year I was finally able to make my dream a reality and together Gareth and I put together an aviary in our own garden. We’ve been slowly introducing our finches to it and it’s been somewhat of a process – but now we’re very nearly at the end and so today I really wanted to share it with you and give you a little tour of the aviary and its occupants.
Let me just preface this post with a warning: this is very image heavy!
On Saturday we finally introduced the zebra finches to the aviary (the canaries and redpolls had already moved in.) So today (Sunday) was the day we picked up four Japanese quails for the bottom. We do already have Japanese quail but these live indoors and I’m very precious about them, so we needed some new hens that I wasn’t massively attached to to live outside.
We picked up four cuties who we have named Bon Bon, Cookie Flump and Sundae. They are surprisingly tame and will let you stroke them and give them head scratches which is really nice!
Now on to the aviary!
We purchased our aviary from eBay – the seller was a handyman who specialises in creating bespoke aviaries. He delivered the aviary to us but we had to put it together ourselves. All in all I believe this cost a little over £500 – something that is definitely not cheap. That said both Gareth and I have over twenty finches and birds are a big passion of ours, so the investment made sense.
The structure itself is approximately 10ft by 6ft and features a three way door system, a flight area and a nesting area which is basically just a little enclosed area that the birds can fly in to for warmth.
Before we built the aviary we dug a large hole and filled it with chicken wire/mesh to stop rats/rodents being able to dig up and in to the structure. We then laid dirt on top of that followed by rocks. We finished the floor off with layers of wood chip and finally sawdust.
The main door is secured with two bolt locks at the top and bottom. This is also padlocked for extra security. When you open this door you are faced with one straight ahead – this door is the door to the nest area and has been lined with nest boxes. To the left of this is another door (also with bolt locks) and this one leads in to the main flight area.
Opening the left door in to the flight area you are greeted with lots of branches, water and seed feeders. Some of the branches were purchased from stores but many of them we collected from the bank beside our house. To give the birds variety we have a mixture of widths, lengths, textures and shapes. In the flight area we have also hung some swings as these have proven popular with our finches and just add an extra something for the birds to perch on.
The birds also roost in the rafters of the aviary – mostly they do this when it gets dark and they are settling down for the night.
We have feeders hanging from the mesh sides, as well as treat sticks and seed bells to add variety and break boredom. We also have two large main water and seed feeders hanging from the roof of the aviary and secured with hooks.
The finches are able to access the nesting area of the aviary through a small opening in the wall. The quails are also able to access this area through a small opening at the bottom of the same wall. This area is where the nesting boxes are and again, is an enclosed space the birds can go to for extra warmth.
We built the aviary around an existing bush that was already in our garden. This just provides the finches with additional perches and some natural foliage within which to hide. The birds use this a lot so it’s a great feature to have.
Now let’s get on to who is in the aviary!
Currently we have Japanese quail living in the bottom of the aviary. We also have zebra finch, canaries, redpolls and one bengalese finch.
I don’t want to jinx anything but so far the finches have been getting on relatively well and the squabbles seem to be contained to the canaries and this is usually over food so nothing to be concerned about.
So that’s it! The aviary is such a lovely space and the birds are all really happy in there. It’s so much nicer to have them outdoors rather than in the house. I have already noticed that they are singing more (especially Muffin the redpoll) and that the condition of their feathers has greatly improved!
If you’re thinking about getting an aviary for your garden I’d say go for it! It makes a great feature and it’s always so lovely to hear the birds singing away and enjoying their environment.