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I guess you could say the bird bug has bitten! It all started about 2 years ago. I painted a mural in an indented area along side the fireplace in my family room. I thought it would look like a nature center if I included actual grapevines and a few zebra finches.

At the pet store, while purchasing my zebras, I saw my first male Gouldian. It was love at first sight. At the same time, a lady in the store told me about an up coming bird show. At the show, I bought my pair of Gouldians and became addicted. I wanted more types of finches and more colors of Gouldians.

Today, I have over fifty finches and my wish list is growing longer. I have red, yellow and black heads, white and purple breasted, and green and blue backs. In addition to the Gouldians, I have owl finches, strawberries, orange cheeks, titmouse finches, lavenders, cordon bleus, diamond firetail sparrows, shafttails and scarlet chested parakeets.

I have built seven out
door aviaries and four
indoor aviaries. My
aviaries are unlike
anything you have
probably ever seen.
I have combined my
love of art with building
each aviary. They have
elaborate murals in most
of them.

The others are
dynamic. I have
decorated them
with dollhouses,
child size tables
and tea party china.

The outsides are decorated with rustic country collectibles. Elaborate gardens, waterfalls, and cozy seats to stop and enjoy the "nature center" surround them.

Several are "walk in" style, where you can sit with the birds. These are my favorite. One is built outside my dinette window for perfect viewing while enjoying breakfast. One is an enclosed patio off a guest bedroom. This one allows more seclusion for the "hard to breed" type. I enclose them in plastic and use small heaters in the winter. I open sections of the plastic during the daytime hours. In the summer, I use misters. Keep in mind, this is for Arizona desert climate.

I have used redwood frame (4x4 and 2x2 ) with half-inch hardware cloth for most of the outdoor aviaries. The roofs are wood or a variegated plastic. In place of hardware cloth, I have also used the fine netting sold for keeping birds off fruit trees. This is aesthetically pleasing to look through but is not mice proof for outdoor use. The mice will eat holes in it. Other large predators might be able to invade this material. If you are sure you do not have any mice, etc., it is safe for the birds. Indoors, I use this netting. I sew cloth around the edges. I use decorative tacks to attach to the walls. (button holes in areas to open.) Cats have been a problem outdoors. I’ve installed a small predator electric fence on top of my walls. It has totally alleviated the cat problem. It can be purchased at Home Depot for around $25.

This story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my Maltese, Barkley, parakeet, Larry and cockatiel, Eddie. Barkley loves all the birds. They all, including the finches, in turn, have no fear of him. These all play together. Larry and Eddie come out of their cages daily. Larry and Barkley play together all day long. The parakeet instigates "race and chase" game. He gets the dog going by "dive bombing" him. He also, drops treats to the dog from a bowl on the counter.

Eddie is more controlling. He rules Barkley. He will not let the dog sit in my lap when he is out. Barkley can lie beside me, but not on me. This rule is strictly enforced by Eddie.

My birds have enriched my life beyond any of my wildest expectations. The hobby fills many hours of each day.

Kathy Miller

© lady gouldian 2017


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