Why are planted aviaries so important for birds in captivity?
When we decide to plant an aviary the main question that rises: which plants should we use? This subject will be enough for some pages, so in this article I would like to explain why, in my opinion, it’s so important to have vegetation in aviaries with birds.
We always have to keep in mind that plants will act as a natural acclimatizer. With this I mean that they can protect the birds from wind, high temperatures and low temperatures, rain, snow and all the other “gifts” mother nature presents us. So plants can be ideally to provide birds a shelter from all these weather conditions.
The vegetation also provides places to hide. Some aviaries are mixed with different species of birds. Some aviaries have species that can develop aggressive behaviors in the breeding season. A good planted aviary will provide birds places to hide so they can feel safe, just like in nature.
One topic that particularly interests me is what I like to call “security distance”. By this term I mean that I always ask myself the question: what will be the necessary distance that an animal needs to feel safe when they see people at the front of the aviary?
As an example: let’s say the depth of the aviary is 5 meters from the front mesh to the rear wall. A person passes at the front of the aviary and the bird flies back in the aviary to a distance of 4 meters. This means that for that aviary the animal “security distance” (the distance the bird needs to keep from the person to feel safe) will be 4 meters.
Now, if you plant the enclosure the bird feels more protected by the surrounding vegetation, and brings them more close to the front which will make much more easy for us to contemplate his magnificence.
Of course the aviaries will also look more beautiful by simulating / replicating “the natural environment”. For sure this should not be the main reason for planting an aviary, because of the arguments mentioned earlier. It is also really important to know how to prune the plants in order to provide nice perches for the birds. You also need to think carefully about which plant species to choose, taking the bird species into account. And of course choose always non-poisonous plants!
As a last call I would like to mention to always keep in mind to protect the plant against damage from the birds. Choose plant species wisely, ask for advice, research on the species, because after all plants are also living beings and they will also need our care.
Tiago Nabiço – Manager Operations