Keeping Your Bird Outdoors

Outdoor aviaries may be quite attractive, and the birds who reside in them benefit from constant fresh air, natural light, and rain water. They also have enough space to fly and exercise, which helps many reproduce successfully. Before putting your bird in an outdoor aviary, keep the following considerations in mind.

Climate: Perhaps more than any other element, the climate in which you reside will determine whether or not you should keep your bird or bird collection outside. Southern California and Florida seem to have the best conditions in North America for keeping exotic birds outside all year. Many other temperate places are appropriate for keeping birds outside during the summer, or at least for a portion of the year.

Investigate your bird’s natural environment. The closer your climate is to its own, the more probable it can be kept comfortably outside. Of course, the circumstances will differ. One Florida aviculturist attributed his lack of breeding success with Australian parakeets in part to the state’s higher humidity than the birds’ native continent.

Zoning: Does your town have any rules restricting the outdoor habitation of exotic birds? Will permissions be necessary if you wish to create a free-standing aviary?

Noise Level: Two macaws living together produce more than double the amount of noise as two macaws living separately in separate households. Consider the impact of noise on your neighbors if you want to breed or keep noisy and vociferous birds in outdoor facilities. Then evaluate the impact on yourself if your neighbors file a zoning board complaint. If you live in a crowded environment, you may wish to consider aviary birds like lovebirds, budgies, Australian parakeets, African greys, Poicephalus, rosellas, Eclectus, plumheaded parakeets, Indian or African ringnecks, Brotogeris, or lorikeets. Cockatoos, macaws, Amazons, huge conures, and Derbyan parakeets are normally louder (though there are exceptions) and are best kept outside by persons who have plenty of space. A single bird is often less loud than a pair, while multiples of the same species are quieter than multiples of the same species.

Security: Can you keep the aviary or outdoor cage out of sight of onlookers? Is your land fenced? Do you have a security system or a dog? Do you have to be away from home for extended periods of time? Can you padlock the cage or lock the aviary? A robber is unlikely to attempt to flee while carrying a huge cage on his or her back! Unfortunately, most police agencies consider bird theft to be a low-priority offense. If you want to keep your birds outside, take precautions to ensure their safety. When you’re busy around the home, a simple gadget like a nursery monitor (available at toy stores and baby stores) may notify you to a noise in the aviary.

Predators: You’ll also need to keep predators and scavengers out of the aviary or outdoor cage. Unless the flights are suspended, a barrier, such as sheet metal sheathing, will be required around the structure’s bottom. Aviary wire must be thick enough to prevent gnawing by birds or rats, and fine mesh screening on the exterior will keep insects out.

Is your bird suitable to live outside? A solitary pet bird that is connected to its owner would most likely be unhappy in an outside aviary. When a buddy moved his blue-fronted Amazon parrot to outside housing, the bird yelled “Help! Help!” until he brought the bird back inside! Indoor birds who are coupled, untamed, or exhibit symptoms of unhappiness may benefit from living in an aviary or outdoor cage. Many pet birds, however, will appreciate spending time in outside habitat if the weather permits.

When it comes to organizing your bird’s outside domain, you have a lot of alternatives. You may build an aviary from a prefabricated kit or design and build one from scratch. Galvanized wire is often used in the construction of aviaries (and certain cages). This wire should be washed with a wire brush and then rinsed with white vinegar to eliminate any hazardous zinc flakes. Pressure-treated timber and wood treated with dyes or preservatives should not be used in the building of aviaries since they are harmful to birds who gnaw on them.

The aviary must fit into the given area while yet allowing the birds within to fly. Double-door systems should be used in outdoor facilities so that you may enter and shut one door before opening another to the bird chamber. Branches for climbing and roosting should be given. Feeders should be placed in areas where food will be protected from the elements. Birds should be able to seek shelter from the sun, wind, and rain as needed. If you reside in a location prone to violent thunderstorms, you should consider installing lightning rods.

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