The year is flying by. We made some much needed improvements to the aviaries just in time for winter, when the birds need shelter from the rain and cold weather here in Melbourne. Our aviaries were well constructed in the first place, but the metal roof only extended half way across, leaving the front section open to the weather, which we thought was a good idea at the time, giving the birds access to rain and sunshine. The disadvantages are that outside birds such as noisy miners, crows, butcher birds, etc. land on the wire section of the roof, leave their droppings, and scare the birds inside the aviary. Also, when it rains, the front section of the aviary became a quagmire, messy and smelly. The man who built our chook house came back and paved the back section of the aviaries, and put a fibreglass roof over the whole bank of aviaries, covering them from front to back, with an overhang at each end. So they are now doubly insulated against the weather, and the floor stays dry. We wish we'd been able to afford to do this right from the start!
We have lost several birds this year. Young Gouldian finches often die when it is extremely cold, and they have left the nest too young. The Turquoisine female died of unknown causes, one Scarlet Chested male escaped (flew out past me when I was half way out of it's aviary) and the pair of Princess Parrots both got out when Ken left the door unlocked when he came inside to take a phone call. I went back out an hour later and saw the door slightly ajar. Found the three Cockatiels sitting on the perch at the back of the aviary, gazing at me as if to say "aren't you lucky that we stayed inside"!
Ken has been busy this year, buying, selling and swapping birds with his friends at the Avicultural Society, some of whom live only ten minutes away by car. As they breed mostly the same birds, they swap male for female as they need, as well as different coloured birds in a species. Last week Ken acquired three more Turquoisine parrots - one pair, and one female to replace one that died. He swapped some of his Scarlet Chested young parrots for the Turks, so that saved both men quite a lot of money :)