Chalmers Home’s aviary brings birdsong into the courtyard

Chalmers Home recreation officer Claire Soto De Vera and resident Tiki Manu enjoy bird watching.

Recreation officer Claire Soto De Vera and long-time volunteer Anthony Pirere worked on and off for a year to get the aviary at Enliven’s Chalmers Home tidied up, repainted and accessible for residents.

“It was well worth the effort. There’s plenty of space now, so residents can watch the birds from outside or come in and sit amongst them on the bench or in their wheelchairs,” Claire says.

Jewel-coloured budgies, a red rump parrot and chirpy cockatiels are just some of the birds that flutter and sing in the aviary.

The bird breeds have very different personalities and characteristics explains Claire.

“Our red rump parrot helps the budgies and cockatiels feed their babies which is a very unusual attribute. We call him Mary Poppins. The grandmother of our aviary is a Pink Bourke parakeet. She keeps the young ones in place and ensures she gets the best food – age before beauty!”

Designed to be self-sustaining, a local pet shop buys the baby birds produced in the aviary. The funds go towards bird seed and other supplies such as cuttlefish for their beaks and toys to keep them amused.

“The original birds came from residents,” says Claire. “The aviary breeding boxes were part of the upgrade, which has resulted in some very busy parents. Once their babies are out of the nest, they are busy making and preparing for the next lot!”

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