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– Do you want to go to the walk-in bird aviary this morning? came the call.

Sure, why not? I’d seen some great photos on Instagram recently so I might be able to grab a couple of up-close bird shots, and Munchkin would like to see the pretty birds. And we had a voucher.

It’s kids entertainment, right, so who would have thought it would have been so stressful?

Loaded up with kids and camera, and plates of apples and mealybugs feed provided for the birds’ feeding pleasure, we entered the enclosure with gay abandon.

We hadn’t even got the pram through the door when there was a lorikeet on my shoulder, then another. Well, that’s to be expected. All good, but good lord, the shrieking in my ear. Enough to pierce the eardrum. Anxious little coots.

In the kerfuffle of screeches, a piece of apple dropped on the pram. Too close to the baby for my liking so I tried to brush it off. Well, didn’t that make those two little birds tetchy and they tried to bite me. Nipped me. Then bit hard and drew blood. We’d been in there less than sixty seconds, and there was screeching, a crying child, a crying baby, a little bit of panic, and blood. This wasn’t boding well.

img_3099  birds-1 The biters

I warned another woman with a small child that the birds bite.

– What did you expect? They’re birds, she responded in a most friendly way (not).

Actually, I was expecting they wouldn’t bite! Why would I pay good money to go in if I expected to be bitten. Hope they bit her.

It calmed down after that and we got the hang of feeding the birds without making them angry, baby was successfully taken out of the pram and into a pouch and was not attacked, but photo fails were the order of the day. Decent photos with child wrangling wasn’t going to work. (Good God, why don’t I learn????)

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Although the aviary claims 1000 square metres of space, it was smaller than I’d expected, and a bit tired, with about a 50 metre path between some open areas with small trees for the birds to perch in and a couple of contained enclosures. There are some birds whizzing around, perilously close to your head at times, and there are quite a few sitting in trees to photograph out of enclosures, so it is possible to get some good natural looking shots if you’re careful to avoid the background walls.

There seemed to be only several dozen birds, although the literature says there’s over 500 and over 60 different species of parrots, finches, doves and quails, with some beautifully coloured ones among them. Parrots and rainbow lorikeets feature strongly, and these are the ones that are happy to be hand-fed, which is fun for the little ones in your life. Highlight of the day was watching a tiny yellow bird feeding her baby, not much smaller than herself, unfortunately (for photography) in a wired enclosure.

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Of course the voucher was the wrong one, but we’ve ticked the aviary off our tourist-at-home list now.

And the cup of tea and scones afterwards was quite restful.

img_3157 AdoreTea, Gold Creek

Some tips for the unsuspecting

  1. Do not be the first one through the door. The birds are very hungry first off and just a wee bit zealous.
  2. Do not attempt to brush birds off your pram. They do not like that. At all. It makes them angry.
  3. Take off your earrings as they suggest. I’m sure they have that sign there for a reason.
  4. Send the kids out for a milkshake and stay behind for ten minutes by yourself to snap off some photos without holding a baby at the same time. How insightful is that?

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Canberra Walk-in Aviary is open everyday except Christmas and summer hours are 10am  to 5pm.

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