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Outdoor Aviaries: Their Role in Promoting Breeding, Good Health and New Behaviors

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

Today I’d like to introduce a new option offered to serious aviculturists by That Pet Place – Outdoor Aviaries .  Early in my zoo career I noticed the vast differences in appearance and behavior between the birds I kept indoors and wild individuals of the same species.  At first I wrote this off to diet and exercise, but I soon noted that birds kept in outdoor exhibits, even for part of the year, were also more colorful and vigorous, and bred more regularly, than did those kept indoors.  You may note that in many of my articles I urge the use of large outdoor enclosures when possible…this strategy has worked well for me in zoos and at home.

Benefits for Your Birds

Our outdoor aviaries allow you to provide your pets with the well-documented benefits of fresh air, sunshine, exposure to natural light and weather cycles and an influx of nutritious insect food.  Available in 5 sizes ranging 3.5 x 4 feet to 9 x 5 feet, they are the ultimate warm weather or permanent homes for a wide variety of species. 

Benefits for You

You will reap benefits as well, for your pets will no doubt reveal an astounding range of new behaviors once released into a large, outdoor aviary.  Many of my most memorable observations were garnered in front of outdoor bird exhibits in zoos and my own backyard aviary (which was home, at various times, to injured kestrels, crows, saw-whet owls, mourning doves and those “bird-wannabees”, flying squirrels).

Further Reading

For information on a charming species that makes an ideal introduction to outdoor bird keeping, please see my article on The Care and Natural History of the Chinese Painted or Button Quail.  

Next time I’ll cover some of the many situations in which outdoor aviaries are useful, and mention birds that do especially well in them.  Please write in with your questions and comments.  Thanks, until next time, Frank Indiviglio.

4 comments

  1. avatar

    Hi Frank, I have written before about ring necked doves, thanks for your advice. I want to give my doves more room as you suggested and like the idea of the outdoor aviary. What would be the smallest size for a pair of doves? They have not nested this year but might if I gave them more room. Thanks.

  2. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest and kind comment, ‘m glad to hear that the information was useful to you.

    Our smallest Outdoor Aviary measures just over 5 feet square, and is a bit more than 6 feet in height; it would be ideal for a breeding pair of ring-necked doves, or a small non-breeding group. Extra space and a move outdoors does, as you suggest, often stimulate reproduction.

    Breeding is always easier if the pair is housed alone, but ring necks are pretty resilient once they settle down. You could likely add other birds, including various finches or a pair of painted quail…please write back if you’d like to discuss that possibility further.

    Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Great Blog! I was prowling on the internet for curiosity. I’ve always wanted to breed parrots (especially Severe and Golden Conures). Naturally I’d need to get more experience under my belt before attempting to do so… but I also am faced with another hiccup. Allergies. My boyfriend and perhaps future husband cannot be in a house full of birds. Are there acceptable outdoor aviaries (capable of withstanding NJ winters) that I could enjoy year round? Since this is for “one day in the future” I was hoping you could do some sort of review. Are they all custom built designs, or can they be bought?

  4. avatar

    Hello Danielle, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words. Neither of the species you mention could withstand NJ winters – they could be let outdoors on warm sunny days if carefully acclimated, but cannot be kept out yearround.

    The best outdoor parrot for your area would be the Monk Parrot (Please see Article) which is actually established in the wild in NJ. They do best with a heated shelter attached to the aviary, but are very cold-hardy.

    The Aviaries I mentioned are already constructed – you would need to have a shelter build and attached if you planned to keep monk parrots. Aviaries can be custom built as well – in zoos we use aviaries with as much indoor as outdoor space, so that birds can be let outside on nice days, but live indoors most of the winter (NYC and surrounding area). This is a major construction project, however – I can refer you to books with plans if you are interested.

    …or you can, as many “bird people” advise, keep birds in the house and construct a small, separate shelter for your allergic partner!

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

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About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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