I kept birds many years ago mainly parrots (30pairs) and some softbills (Hornbill, Turaco, Rollers) and crowned Cranes. I left the hobby completely in 2000 never to return? At that point I soon realised that the birds took all my time, money and life.
Then in 2012 I’d still not had a bird in my life for all that time a very good friend of mine rang me and asked if I would take a pair of Bali starlings? I jumped at the opportunity said give me a couple of weeks and I will sort it! NO she said they need to be collected tomorrow, and would I have a hand reared Red crested Turaco as well? Wow ok I rang my friend at work and he had some old aviary panels down the side of the garage I went and collected them and I spent the next 5 hours converting my wife’s very old summer house that all of a sudden she loved!!! It was soon turned in to an Aviary. Sadly I fell straight back into the bird keeping mentality buy saying whatever it took to get the aviary done. So I had to promise a new summer house as you do. My wife (Sue) had never kept any birds before or seen what I had kept in my past life either, she didn’t really get the whole idea of bird keeping and she 100% did not get my excitement or my ongoing stories of what I used to have. It was all really new to her and she was showing very early signs of a bird widow.
The summer house was now a makeshift aviary. I collected the Birds on the Friday and put them in their new home. Bang that’s me back into birds again. It was so exciting all came rushing back all the joy excitement of keeping birds and lucky for me Sue fell in love with birds especially the tame Turaco now named Terry. It seemed a good idea as he was very tame and great fun.
We decided to use up a large corner at the bottom of the garden that was a bit of a dump ground and put one big flight and house in for them to live in. The flight would be from the corner 24’ out each side and 8’ tall with a wooded house at the back for them to sleep in. The flight was huge and seemed to take forever to build but when it was finished it looked just great. It was very well planted I put a little pond in for maybe a pair of ducks. See I could feel the bug coming back already. Terry and his friends the Bali Starlings were put into their new home it was a great day.
We decided it was time for Terry to have a girlfriend it was right for him to share his great house with a wife. So the search was on. In September 2013 I found a DNA sexed hen bird not tame but nice and steady and in perfect condition. We bought her and took her home to meet Terry. After a week of being separated but had contact through the wire it was clear that they needed to be together, so we let them out and it was love at first meeting we could not wish for more. They hit it right off from the word go. Terry and June where married later that afternoon. The Bali starlings welcomed the invitation to the ceremony and became the perfect witnesses.
All year they kissed and played together a bit of stick carrying all the good signs it was really great and exciting to see them together and we were looking forward to hopefully some babies in the New Year.
Fast forward to February 2014 I went to feed them as normal on the Sunday morning and June was on the floor dead. Absolutely feather perfect not a mark on her absolutely nothing wrong. We were devastated it was a harsh reminder for me of bird keeping and for Sue first time of losing a bird then asking all those questions what did we do wrong??
After a lot of thought we decided that we would buy another hen and try to pick up from where we were. I managed to buy a 2013 DNA sexed hen from David Jones. She arrived and we placed them in the same flight but separated as before she settled very quickly but Terry did not show much interest in her really. After a week we let her out into the flight with Terry she was a lovely bird and yes Terry absolutely hated her from the word go he gave her a really hard time. Time and time again we split them up and then tried to put them together again it was hard work but after a good few months things calmed down. Terry soon gave up harassing her and settled down and accepted that she was here to stay. They did not spend much time together but slowly they got closer and now they get along just fine kissing and feeding and are in love but have never bred yet.
Then I went and spoilt it.... possibly? Maybe!!
We were sitting in the garden having a coffee as normal looking at Terry and June bouncing around the flight and the conversation went something like this "love can I another aviary please?" "Yes" she said a little surprised shocked would be fair, ok time to do the bird keeper luck pusher "can I have two then?" the silent pause couple of sips of coffee and then "OK" she said "but that is it".
The construction of two new flights began both being 12’ long 8’ wide and 8’ high for two more pairs of Turaco. Once they were built it was time to find the Turacos to fill them.
I found an advert for a pair of Green Crested Turaco (persa persa) we made an appointment and went to see the birds, we were very excited. We visited a really nice collection of softbills with about 10 really lovely well planted aviaries with a good selection of birds and Sue was gob smacked, she had never seen a collection like this before in somebody’s garden. We bought the birds and took them home and put them in one of the new aviaries they looked great and settled in very quickly then Terry talked to the green crested and the green crested talked to Terry 4 Turaco one garden exciting sound.
Whilst sitting in front of the aviary looking at the new arrivals with our normal cup of coffee. Sue says right out of the blue
"You need more aviaries you need to keep just one pair of birds per aviary" talk about music to my ears. Let the construction begin welcome to The Turaco Hilton.