The building was designed in the 1930's. When viewed from above, it has a similar shape to that of a bird in flight, travelling away from Westover Road towards Sandbanks.
As you face the Aviary, the "left wing" is the enclosure where we keep all the small and timid birds. The "right wing" is bigger, and houses the parrots and more aggressive large birds. The central "body" is a small section which was recently opened up to allow birds from the "big side" to visit. It is also the home of our large green Amazon parrot, called "Posh".
Each of the three sections has an entrance lobby and a back room. The back rooms are heated in the cold months, and are lit for some of the evening. The roofs are partially sheltered. There are many perches and nest boxes. The birds are free to choose where they want to fly, sit or sleep. Parrots chew all the wood we give them, which is why branches with leaves, and pretty toys, don't last long!
We have six different seed mixtures, insectivorous meal and calcium grit plus the fruit. This provides a balanced diet for all the different species at the Aviary. We also give them fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Some of the species need special foods, such as high protein supplements or grubs. Most of them enjoy treats such as sweetcorn, pomegranate, millet sprays and cuttlefish bones, which we hide around the enclosures for them to find.
The birds make a lot of mess, so we need to clean the enclosures every single day.
This involves sweeping, washing and scrubbing the floor, even in cold or wet weather! We also provide the birds fine sand for dust bathing as well as fresh bathing water daily.
Visitors to the Lower Gardens enjoy feeding the squirrels and pigeons. Some of them also throw unwanted food onto the paths and shrubberies.
We have to be especially vigilant regarding the mice and rats that are attracted to the unwanted food which makes our job more difficult to keep the Aviary free of rodents contaminating our food stuffs and harming our beautiful birds.
We keep our food stuffs in lidded mouse proof bins to avoid spoiling valuable food.
Plans for a new Aviary Building
Bournemouth Council and the Bournemouth Parks Foundation are helping us to replace the existing Aviary with a smart new building which is better suited to looking after our birds, and also to improve many of the issues which currently reduce the effectiveness of our volunteers. This should allow a better experience for the birds and our visitors. It will also allow our volunteers to spend more of their time looking after the birds, and less looking after the building and its surrounding area.
Would you like to help us?
We have a friendly and dedicated team of volunteers, but another pair of hands (and wellington boots!) is always welcome! Of course, if you visit the Aviary at the same time each week, you will recognise the volunteers who are regular helpers. You might have enough time to join them on a regular basis, or perhaps to take over at times they are on holiday or sick. On the other hand, an occasional helping hand can be useful to catch up on tasks that aren't our highest priorities. You can also help us by raising money.
Click here to see how you can help us raise money for the new aviary.