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How to Build an Inexpensive Backyard Aviary

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Marilyn is an avid bird watcher from childhood, always fascinated with physiology, behavior patterns and survival antics.

Portable Enclosed Aviary

Portable Enclosed Aviary

Selecting Aviary Placement Area

Taking the time to decide where to place an aviary is important. Consider sun exposure, tree coverage, backyard wind tunnels, and pet exposure, such as cats or dogs that may go after birds going in and out of the aviary.

Birds need a good combination of sun and shade, as they get important vitamin D from the sun rays, and need afternoon shade from the hot sun, especially in desert areas.

Some shade is necessary, especially in the afternoon, possibly placing the aviary on the east side of a building or tree. During winter months, the morning sun warms the aviary the entire day, but a portable oil register room heater is useful inside the aviary, using a protected extension cord on a timer for night, especially if there are babies. If the heater is too hot for you to touch, it's to hot for the birds, they can burn their feet!

Tree coverage is considered because limbs may crack and fall during a storm causing damage to the top or frame, resulting in injury to the birds in the enclosure.

Some back yards, like ours, on occasion, can be very windy throwing large items around. Three 20-pound weights on each corner pole should hold it in place.

Birds that get familiar with the aviary will land in and on the surrounding area. Just be mindful of this when allowing pets out doors, as some are natural predators.

Aviary Frame

To construct a simple aviary with the least amount of work, purchase an eight foot by eight foot (8' x 8'), or ten foot by ten foot (10' x10') Portable Pop Up Gazebo/Canopy from, or a local store. The frame can be erected in just minutes. Adding the enclosure will take a couple of hours. The process will take a little work, but it's worth it.

Some portable shades can cost as little as $59.95, that include the easy to assemble and erect frame, and top cover. Some, depending on size can cost upward to $400.00 or more. Base weights can be purchased from online and other stores for placement on each corner pole to secure the structure from wind. Four weights, twenty pounds (20 lb.) each, can be purchased for as little as roughly $30.00. Yard sales can be another good source. Ours is from Amazon, easy to set up, lasted three years ongoing, replacing the top twice. Great product.

Structure size is variable, from six foot by six foot (6' x6'), up to ten foot by 20 foot (10' x 20') or larger. Just keep in mind that the larger the structure, more weights or permanent placement is needed for stability.

Aviary Enclosure

The easiest and least expensive way to enclose the gazebo is to use quality chicken wire sold on, or a local store.

Using an 8' x 8' structure, would require 2 rolls of wire, each four foot by sixty four feet (4' x64'). Decide where the entry door will be placed and run the wire from one side of that area all the way around the structure to where the other side of the door will be. After running the wire around the top, fasten the chicken wire to the top of the gazebo frame and corners to secure it. Attach a door of choice to one corner pole using heavy duty zip ties, securing one side of the door to the pole.

On the other side, cut a two inch by three inch (2" x 3") board that fit against the opening side of the door, secure it by stapling it to the chicken wire, leaving no gaps at the top or the bottom. A bungie cord can be used to secure the opening side of the door to the chicken wire. That keeps wind, earthquakes, and cats out, yet easy entry.

Connect the top and bottom rows of chicken wire by running wire through a slight overlap making a seam all the way around, or use twist ties every two feet (2') to secure them together. We also left about eight inches (8") of wire at the bottom, all the way around, to flare out on the ground where we laid eight foot (8') four by four (4" x 4") boards on three sides.

Where the door took some space on one side, we used bricks along the bottom to hold the wire down to the ground. That keeps cats and dogs out, and it added extra weight that helped save the structure during a ninety mile per hour wind!

Place round or square plastic, aluminum or metal rods through the chicken wire for perches. We also added a hutch to enclose a pair of birds who had babies so the others wouldn't bother them.

Thick Plastic Siding for Weather Protection

Thick Plastic Siding for Weather Protection

Security Screen Door Attached to Corner Pole with Heavy Zip Ties.

Security Screen Door Attached to Corner Pole with Heavy Zip Ties.

Aviary Top Cover

The initial portable gazebo has a top included that secures to the frame with about three to four inches overhang on all four sides. This helps block a little bit of the sun during hot months, and rain.

The top does wear out from weather, heat and sun. Watch for shredding, weakness, or slight tears and replace when necessary with an inexpensive heavy duty tarp. The best for an 8' x 8' structure is at least a ten foot by twelve foot (10' x 12') reversible tarp.

For more environmental protection either a reinforced tarp, or thick plastic sheet can be mounted on three sides, from top to bottom, securing in various places with twist ties or zip ties so wind doesn't whip it to shreds. Covering three sides of the aviary protects the birds from wind, cold, and makes them less obvious to predators.

Permanent Structure

To make the structure more permanent, dig a hole for each corner about three to four inches deep. Fill the holes with cement and sink the corner poles into the wet cement and allow to dry before adding the enclosure wire. To add a permanent door, dig a three to four inch hole for each board on both sides where the door will be mounted.

Measure from the bottom of the top frame (where the top of the door will meet with the top) to the ground and add three or four inches (considering the depth of the hole dug for each board) and cut two two by three inch (2" x 3"), or four by four (4" x 4") boards for the door frame. Fill the two holes with cement and sink each of the boards into the wet cement.

Secure the top of the boards to the top frame so the boards do not move and allow the cement to dry. After the cement cures, cover with dirt and mount the door with hinges, and door knob, also mounting the strike plate on the door knob side board.

Canopy Tent 10 x 10 Pop Up Canopy Ez Up Sun Shade Canopy with Backpack Bag, 4 Sand Weights Bags, Steel Stakes Gazebos Tent for Outdoor, Wedding ,Party, Camping,

Joys of a Bird Aviary

1 Week Old Eggs

1 Week Old Eggs

3 Days Old

3 Days Old

2 Weeks Old

2 Weeks Old

4 Weeks Old

4 Weeks Old

Boxes for Nesting

Boxes for Nesting

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2021 Marilyn


Marilyn (author) from Nevada on September 20, 2021:

Thank you bhattuc. We have had many days of enjoyment watching different species of birds go in and out of the Aviary. Most of all, we have helped some abandoned babies, and raised some that are very colorful.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on September 18, 2021:

Nice article, thanks.