Tag: bird keeping

Autumn in the Garden

One of my New Years Resolutions for this year was to spend more time in the garden, now that we actually have a proper one, complete with real grass and everything.

Our garden back in Brentwood was very, very small – a tiny pen filled with rocks. Even so, I would still sit out on the step, and I still planted bulbs in what little dirt we had. The garden is the thing I appreciate having the most in SNO – and I definitely spent a lot of time in it this year. Now that it’s Autumn it looks even more beautiful than it did back in the summer, thanks to the riot of colour and all of the local wildlife flocking back.

Today I thought I would share some images and updates.

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A Tour of Our Garden Aviary

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!

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A Trip To Birdland

On the 12th of August (a Saturday), Gareth and I decided to travel up to Bourton-on-the- Water and stay in nearby Cheltenham for the weekend. After everything that’s been going on lately a mini-break was most welcome. Luckily we had some Tesco vouchers to spend on booking a nice little hotel room for the night and some left over for a day trip to Birdland and a meal at Zizzis – result!

In this post I’m going to talk about our trip to Birdland, but keep your eyes peeled for posts on Bourton-on-the-Water and what we got up to over the weekend!

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BKA Bird Fair – Some new friends!

Today we went to the Bird Keepers Association bird fair in St Augustin’s Hall, Thorpe Bay.

Sadly one of our Orange Cheeked Waxbills – Clementine- passed away a few short weeks ago, leaving her little pal Wotsit behind to live with the Owl finches. So our aim today was to get a hen Orange Cheeked Waxbill to befriend Wotsit as he was displaying some behaviours that suggested he might be lonely.

We were in luck! There were lots of absolutely beautiful birds at the fair, including three Orange Cheeks. We picked out a lovely little hen. We haven’t named her yet but we are very happy with her.

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After we purchased the hen we expected to go home. But rarely do we leave a bird fair with just one bird – and today was no exception.

When I spotted this tiny Chinese Painted Quail I just couldn’t help myself. I had to have him. He is much much smaller than our Japanese quail whom we love dearly. And has just spent some time out of his cage chasing them around! (Much to our amusement) We haven’t named him yet but will do shortly. We’re also hoping to buy him a little female friend in the week. I’m so excited – he’s so cute!

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A couple of days later we went to visit a man who kindly gave us two hens to keep our little guy happy (we named him Peep.)

This is Penny:

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And this is Thimble. She’s much whiter than Penny but does also have brown feathers:

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And here’s another shot of our little guy Peep!

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They are all settling in fantastically with Penny and Thimble already laying eggs. They get along perfectly with the Japanese quail so all in all we are very happy!

In the bird room

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in every post ever, we moved recently. Our new flat has two bedrooms which was a major pull for us. Being in a steady loving relationship we felt that two rooms would be appropriate. One for us and one for the babies. And when I say babies, what I actually mean is the birds. All of the birds.

So at this point we have about 20 finches (a whole charm!) They recently moved in to the bird room and although they still remain caged, it’s a lot more spacious and they can be let out to fly around without the fear of them smacking in to anything or falling behind cabinets. They are rather small birds and this can be a problem. The bird room is great though, and currently houses a very large aviary- type flight cage and three other large cages. I often get asked if the birds all have their own names. Of course they do. With the exception of the six chicks we recently hatched (and can’t bear to part with) every bird is named.

And here they are – a kinda whose who of the bird room.

This is Pepper. She is a hen zebra finch and one of the first finches I ever owned. She is the friendliest of the bunch and very inquisitive.

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This is Biscuit who is also a hen. We got Biscuit and Pepper together at the same time and believe they are probably sisters. Both Biscuit and Pepper recently had chicks (three each.)

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This is Freckles a cock zebra finch. He is paired with Pepper and they had three chicks together (all hens.) Freckles was an amazing dad doing almost all of the feeding.

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This is Cheeks, a cock zebra finch. Here he is seen with the bird he is paired with – Biscuit. Together they had three chicks two of which were hens and one cock.

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These are our penguin zebra finches. At the front is Pumpkin (a cock) next to him is Mabel (a hen) – Biscuit is pictured once again. Pumpkin is very sweet and likes cuddling up to the other birds. Mabel is a bit tougher and likes to sing loudly and defiantly.

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And now on to the chicks. I don’t think I’ve captured them all but we have five hens and one cock. At the moment they are going through that cute stage where they are growing feathers in. Below is our little boy – note his adorable patchy little cheeks.

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All of the above live in the largest aviary although should be separated soon when we find another large cage to house the chicks who will soon be troublesome adults.

In this photo you can see Sweetpea a hen zebra finch. Behind (the brown and white) is Bramble who is a bengalese finch and Button who is a cock bengalese finch. These guys are always singing.

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This is Raisin who is a black-cheeked cock zebra finch. He lives with Button, Bramble and Sweetpea. He used to live in the larger aviary but he was a terrible bully. He’s pretty cute though.

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The third cage houses our owl finches and orange cheeked waxbills. These are tiny birds and passive so they live happily together without squabble. The zebra finches can be prone to fighting and being mean to each other but these have never had any problems.

Below is Clementine and Wotsit – our orange cheeks, and our cock owl finch Pipkin.

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Pickle, Pipkin, Clementine and Wotsit. I will come clean here and tell you that I can’t identify which orange cheek is which as they are virtually the same to look at. Nevermind- they are both very skittish and sweet!

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And finally our fourth cage houses our redpolls. Unlike the other finches these are not foreign. These are actually the only British finches we own (although I’d love to own more so watch this space!)

Below is our cock Muffin – he loves destroying seed bells and has a lot of character.

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And this is our hen Chestnut. She has very beautiful markings. I particularly like the yellow accents around her face, when she is annoyed with something or wants the zebra finches to stop squawking she makes a very angry sound that is not too dissimilar to a telephone ringing.

Redpolls are wild birds and in the UK you can only sell them if they have been ringed. Ours both bear ring bands and were purchased at a bird fair in Brightlingsea.

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And thus concludes the tour of the bird room (for now!) I next want to purchase some quails but we’ll see. Bird seed and upkeep is quite costly when you have 20 beaks to feed!

I think birds are wonderful to watch and very rewarding to keep. Do you own any special birds?