PLANTS FOR THE AVIARY
There are many varieties of cypress, which are available in colored forms froln dark green to pale gray, yellow, and blue. It forms a dense bush or tree with fresh growth on the outermost tips of the plant, and a dry dense interior, ideal for nesting birds. (type: evergreen)
A rapidly growing plant that will quickly produce thick cover. Bearing a mass of small white flowers in spring, it is an exceedingly vigorous plant and needs regular pruning. Because the flowers are borne on the previous year's growth, it is best pruned after flowering. (type: perennial climber)
This is the most popular of the species, with large, showy flowers. Grown either on the outside of an aviary to add color, or on the inside up a post, it is not so vigorous as the montana and is best left unpruned if you wish to use it as cover. The flowers appear on the new growth and for best results the plant should be pruned almost to the ground. (type: perennial climber)
Cotoneaster conspicuus v, decorus:
A prostrate variety will form a bank of dark green foliage with small white scented flowers, attracting bees and other insects in spring. (type: evergreen)
Clipped as a hedge and planted close together, the hawthorn will form an impenetrable barrier with good nesting sites and edible fruits much loved by thrushes in winter after the frosty weather is over. (type: plant with edible berries)
The annual hop, sown from seed each year, will rapidly cover a post, giving good cover and attracting insects galore. There is also a type with variegated leaves. (type: annual climber)
The morning glory has large blue or white flowers that close in the afternoon. It is best grown in small pots and then planted outside once all danger of frost has passed. (type: annual climber)
The summer flowering jasmine is not strictly a climbing plant, but is grown for best effect against a wall or support. Its white flowers, produced in summer, are highly scented. (type: perennial climber)
The winter flowering jasmine has bright yellow flowers, produced from October to March on bare green branches, which add color during the dull winter months. (type: perrenial climber)
The sweet pea is available in a huge varicty of colors and gives a wonderful display on the out-side of an aviary. Seedlings need protection from pecking birds. (type: annual climber)
The perennial pea, which will grow fresh each year on the wire of an aviary, produces purple flowers throughout the summer months. It will die back during the winter months, so pruning is unnecessary. (type: perennial climber)
There are many species and varieties of honeysuckle. It produces vigorous growth and scented flowers in various shades of pink, cream, and red, which in some cases produce berries appreciated by your birds. Some, such as frangrantissima, will flower in winter. (type: perennial climber)
The Oregon grape will form a dense shrub six feet (1.8 m) high under the most adverse conditions. It is a useful plant in shaded areas. (type: evergeen)
The humble and useful runner bean can be grown either on the aviary wire or on a wigwam of sticks within to produce attractive and useful cover for small birds, together with a good insect population. (type: annual climber)
Once established this plant is difficult to control, but given ruthless pruning it provides wonderful cover for breeding birds, and encourages insects. It can produce 30 feet (9 m) of growth in one summer with ease. (type: perrenial climber)
Firethorn is a strong growing shrub that may be trained against a wall, giving thorny protection to the inmates of the aviary. Its bright red berries are much appreciated by thrushes and bullfinches, as are the numerous insects it attracts. It is also useful as a perimeter hedge to discourage unwanted intruders in your backyard. (type: evergreen)
Question on plants for the aviary.
I wish to place plants in an indoor/outdoor aviary, and am concerned about the fact that all of the plants that we purchase at nurseries have generally been sprayed with pesticides, as well as chemical fertilizers. As birds often nibble on plants, I worry that they could be exposed to harmful pesticide residues. What is your opinion about this, and do you have any solution to this predicament? I want to provide both a safe and naturalistic environment for the birds.
In Hamilton, Ontario, some nurseries say they only spray certain types of plants that bugs love such as Roses, annuals, vegetables, fruit trees and a few types of shrubs. Ask the nursery if it has any plants it does not spray. Most of the people here that have outdoor aviaries have bought several types of plants from nurseries and have never had any problems. I suppose it depends on the type of plant and where you live but pesticides sprayed on plants can be washed or rinsed off with safe cleaners such as those used to wash vegetables. In time the pesticides will wear off, especially if the plant loses leaves in the winter and grows new each year. One person recommended that any plants or shrubs you buy for the aviary should be planted in a separate area away from the aviary for one year and then moved closer to, or in the aviary if that is where you want them. If you only want them lining the outside edge of the aviary you can plant them right away at a distance that the birds cannot reach them that season. By the time they grow further the next season, any pesticides should be worn off. I am not sure about indoor plants, but I would assume they are not sprayed (ask to be sure) since they are not placed outdoors where bugs can harm them.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.