It’s getting to the pointy end of the project. We really wanted to get this done so we can introduce the birds at the start of the school holidays. It’s slowly getting there.
Day 23: Got up early, hooked the trailer and headed off for the woods. Not really woods, it just sounded nice in the sentence… Just a big clump of trees in a big open space next to the railway line. Anyway there are often dropped branches there. Got a massive load with some straight ones, some tree-shaped ones, and some curvy ones. One branch in particular stretched from the back of the trailer to halfway across the car – must be a good 6m long.
In between work started cutting and affixing perches where we think the birds will like to sit. Sort-of creating rooms, or focus areas. Of course the young artistic director had a lot to say about where things should go. He did help holding difficult pieces in place and drilling and screwing here and there.
All the while we had to keep in mind to leave a good flight path from the back to the front.
Day 24: I had a off day the Friday so in between various distractions drove all the way to Wombat Gully plant farm to get a more mature tree. Had a good informative discussion with the lady there that helped me a lot. We eventually settled on a fairly mature crab apple which had some sturdy branches. It’s a bit of an experiment as this particular type grows to 10m tall, so we’ll see how does in a pot, but she reckoned it would last a good 3-4 years before it gets stressed. We considered another type of crab apple which has a more bushy growth and we thought about mulberries too, but neither were mature enough.
Anyway back home, in between preparations and errands for the school’s graduation picnic, I managed to concrete the double-door entrance and got the crab apple planted.
Day 25: Slightly drowsy early start after watching the school’s graduation movie until late the night before. Drove to a beach where there are a lot of bigger river rocks. Most of the beaches here have sandstone cliffs so not many places to find nice rocks. I had bought a few bags of landscaping pebbles but they are too small to pack around the pump and they could block the drainage hole through which the waterer auto-fills the birdbath/water feature thingy. Anyway, absconded a nice little collection without too much damage to the beach landscape. Even squeezed in a quick little surf on an uncrowed little a-frame with the light onshore picking up – broke the 40 day surf fast!
Anyway back home, I carried on fitting and fixing perches, while the young artistic director packed the rocks in the water feature. It’s a bit of weird concept – making the water feature shallower so that the birds can’t drown. In the wild, those same types of birds drink from big watering holes and massive rivers. But we settled on the conclusion that maybe because we are getting captivity-bred birds, their parents may not have had the opportunity not to dive into deep water, right?
We even constructed and hung two swings.
Carried on fitting perches and affixing feeders and stuff, sealed the gap between the climbing frame and the plywood sides in the nesting area. Late afternoon as we had to get ready for a pre-Christmas party, we packed the tools, ladders and everything away, cleared the back yard of all the excess wood (which may come in handy when we need to fix some of the edgings at Dreamland) and clearing all the bits and pieces of mesh offcuts.
Basically the aviary is as ready as we’re going to get it in record time.
Day 26: Final preparations, went through every nook and cranny to check that it is bird safe, picked up wire cuttings, staples, and elephant clips that dropped throughout the construction. Whipper-snipped in and around the aviary. Put in a few more perches, fitted locks, moved the plants around, checked and re-checked the waterers and the bird bath. The artistic director had a lot to contribute too. Made a final shopping list.
OK now it’s ready!