If you decide to keep the birds "at home" in their cages, you must always remember that you take the bird to you for its entire "bird life".
Our custom to release birds “in the wild in spring” is wild and harmful, and its conservation, in our country, is completely unacceptable.
A bird that has lived in a cage for more than a month gets used to people and stops playing them, it “unlearnes” to find food, getting it always ready in a cage, the bird loses its ability to “be on alert forever” – the only ability that allows it, a completely defenseless creature surrounded a number of enemies, save your life. Birds released from cages are 100% prey victims, fall under the feet of horses and passers-by, under the wheels of cars or, finally, simply die of starvation.
The custom of letting birds out in the spring is cruel. Early spring (and the “Annunciation” is the beginning of spring) is one of the most difficult periods of the year in the life of birds.
“Particularly badly occurring are wintering birds released in the spring from a cage. In summer or spring, when there are no rowan berries, no ash seeds, when horse sorrel not only has no seeds, but barely forms ovaries, when nettle seeds showered, bullfinches are released, accustomed to feed on these feeds in the winters. "(VG Dormidontov" Birds in captivity ").
So, if you take a bird for life to your house, then you need to arrange this life better. The first condition for the normal existence of the bird is the corresponding room – a cage.
Cages cages aviaries
Extremely widespread among the general public, the current idea of the need for birds to have "large" cages, in which our captives allegedly feel especially well and more easily get used to the loss of freedom, is deeply mistaken. This opinion of “compassionate” people has no reasonable grounds. It is based on the lack of experience in keeping birds and contradicts this experience. Lovers of birds and experts in their captivity say completely different, confirming their opinion with a completely logical reasoning and experience. Naturalist A.G. The company says about the size of the cages for birds like this: “In the cages, as a rule, the birds are kept alone, or at most in pairs, a male with a female. This achieves a more in-depth familiarity with the bird compared to a cage and an aviary ”(we add to this: placing birds in cages, as more portable rooms, does not clutter up rooms and, of course, is accessible to everyone, which cannot be said about cages and aviaries) . “In no case should birds be kept in cages that are too spacious for them, for example, carduelis in a starling cage. In such a cage, the bird feels uncomfortable, sings a little, runs wild for a long time and itself reduces the size of its dwelling, holding only in a small part of it (usually only at the top).
It is necessary to establish, as a rule, that the bird was deprived of the opportunity to flit aimlessly through the cage, because this makes it even more timid, complicating its adaptation to room conditions. It would not even be an exaggeration to say that most insectivorous birds die early in captivity precisely due to improperly selected cells. ”
A.G. The company recommends a table (see table. 1) of cell sizes for birds of different species, from which, he warns, "only slight deviations are permissible."
Of course, one cannot go to the other extreme – to place birds in cages that are too small for them. If the cage is insufficient in size, the birds either sit motionless on the perch all the time and consequently grow fat and die quickly from general obesity, or, trying to jump over the cage, they feather and break feathers on their tail and wings, making it very unattractive in appearance.
The shape of the cell, as well as its size, is far from indifferent. Hobbies with all kinds of pretentious "beautiful" cells "with porches", "windows", sloping or rounded roofs (borrowed mainly from German birders).
are harmful. Round, polygonal and with different “decorations” cages are unsuitable, since it is inconvenient for the bird to jump and fly from place to place in them, it is difficult for the bird to find “cozy” corners for resting in them, dust, litter, feathers of birds accumulate in decorations, parasites start , and keeping the birds clean is difficult.
The shape of the cage should be rectangular, without any protrusions, with a flat top. Any cell should have a retractable bottom, preferably a metal one. The rods of the cell are preferably made of wire, preferably not copper, whose oxide is toxic. The wire rods are hygienic and allow more light to pass inside the cage than wood. (However, for some particularly shy birds, which tend to quickly rush up and onto the side walls of cages in a fright, wooden rods that are less damaging to birds are more suitable. Bird species for which wooden rods are preferred are listed in the table of A. G. Krmpaniyets.)
Cell sizes of songbirds of different types
All-metal cells are very good, but they are much more difficult to make than wooden ones, and their cost is much higher. The most common cells with a wooden skeleton and metal rods.
The color and color of the cells are also not indifferent. The most hygienic should be recognized or unpainted cells, the skeleton of which is made of smoothly curved boards, easy to clean, or cells stained with enamel or, worse, oil paint.
In no case is it recommended to stain cells in bright colors – in brightly colored cages the birds are poorly visible and the plumage of most of our birds loses its beauty. The best color for staining cells should be recognized various shades of brown – the natural color of the curved boards of various tree species.
In each cage must be placed poles on which the birds will sit and on which they will jump. The poles should be of such a thickness (diameter) that the bird could hardly grab them with the fingers of its paws. The perches are made from dense shoots of different tree species (without a spongy core), best of all from linden, alder or hazel (hazel). It is not necessary to scrap the bark from the perches. Hollow perches (from reed stalks, elderberries, etc.) are unacceptable, since they are always the habitat and accumulation of parasites.
Poles must be placed in compliance with two rules: first, so that the distance between them allows the birds to easily jump from one to the other, barely flapping their wings, and secondly, so that the birds, being on the perch, do not contaminate food and water with their stools. Periodically, remove the poles from the cells and scrape off the dirt that has stuck to them with a knife.
Large river sand, washed from dust and debris, must be poured at the bottom of the cells. Sand is necessary for digestion, since the grains of sand ingested by birds play the role of millstones in their stomachs for grinding food, which they swallow as a whole, without preliminary mechanical processing of it in the oral cavity (which animals do).
Feeding troughs and drinking bowls are best suspended from the walls of the cage, and not put to the bottom, as in this case they are less polluted by birds.
Every bird lover should have, in addition to the usual cells described by us, also 1-2 special cells, where it is necessary to place the just caught birds for several days, immediately after capture. These cells in our breeders are called “cutters” and are made somewhat differently than ordinary cells. The sizes of the legs should be approximately the same as recommended by us for birds of the corresponding species. Kouteyki should consist of a rectangular wooden skeleton, but their walls are not made of rods, but are pulled by some kind of material – coarse calico, canvas, canvas. At one of the upper corners of the kuteika, a small “eye” is made, covered with wire mesh, through which you can observe the birds in the kuteika without disturbing or frightening them. The eye should be closed with a curtain of the same material as the walls and the lid of the coffer. Inside, the canteen has all the same parts as an ordinary cage (poles, feeders, drinking bowls, etc.).
In order to complete our description of the cells, one more instruction is necessary. The top of the cells, which contain larks, quails, nightingales, sometimes blackbirds, should not be made of wire rods, but should be tightened with dense fabric or, better, should be made of a flat cotton pad nailed to the vertical side columns of the cage. This adaptation for the maintenance of the specified species of birds is quite necessary, since they quickly fly up with a fright and break their heads on wire rods.
For transportation of caught birds by rail or other means of communication, special “transport” or “road” cages are used, which are made in the form of deaf, low boxes. The walls of these boxes must be made of thin, smoothly planed boards or sheets of plywood. One wall of the box is made of wire rods, with a distance of 1 cm between them, that is, it has the form of a side wall of an ordinary cell. This wire wall of the road cage should be closed with a rising and falling lid from the plank, which is best reinforced in wooden grooves. On the sides of the road cage adjacent to the wall with rods and as close as possible to it, the feeder and the drinking glass are fixedly fixed, which is inserted into the wire ring embedded in the wall in order to avoid overturning in the event of inevitable shaking. The door of the transport cell is certainly made in the wall opposite the wire. When opening the door, it is necessary to first raise the plate covering the wire side of the cage, as otherwise birds in the dark, throwing themselves at the light entering through the open door, can easily fly out of the cage.
The length and width of the transport cages should correspond to the number of birds transported, but their height should be no more than 20-25 cm and the poles in it should be all at the same level so that the birds, always striving to occupy the top places, would not push and dirty one another. When transporting, it is not recommended to place more than 12-15 birds in one cage. Therefore, as appears from the description of the transport cage, birds must be transported in the dark, as in light cages they desperately beat against the walls and top of the cage, often breaking to death. Feeding and watering the birds on the road should be 3-4 times a day, for this purpose every time for 5-10 minutes raising a plate over the wire wall, and then, after this time, again lowering it.
It should be noted, however, that long-term transport is very detrimental to the health, condition and appearance of the birds. And if there is a need to transport birds over distances exceeding 2-3 days of a railway crossing, then in this case it is advisable to transport birds on airplanes.
All kinds of cells that we talked about should have doors. The cell doors must be arranged so that, with your hand in the cage, you can get any corner of the cell. Doors should be of such size that an adult’s hand freely passes through them and it is easy to put feeders, drinking bowls and bathtubs in a cage.
The cell doors are made in two ways: either they are movably fixed on one of the cell rods, or they are made to go up, reinforced with special wire rings that move freely along the door lumen rods. Doors outside must have hooks or latches that allow them to be tightly closed.
The side walls that limit the bottom of all cages from the sides must be made no less than 10 cm in order to prevent birds from scattering sand and husks from the feed in the room in which the cage is located and to avoid excessive litter in it.
Saddles. Cages are called cells of large sizes, used mainly for breeding canaries and budgies, as well as for keeping together several birds of one or different species.
Actually the exact distinction between the concepts of "cage" and "cell" does not exist. Any large cell can be called a cage and each small cage is a large cage. What we said at the beginning of the description of the cell structure fully applies to cages.
The content of birds in cages corresponding to the size of bird species is preferable than in cages. Birds placed in cages several pieces together, play much more than in cages, tame much harder, usually fight and quarrel with each other and, which is very unpleasant, greatly dirty each other. Therefore, cages can only be recommended for breeding canaries (or budgies).
When arranging cages, they proceed from the same principles as when arranging cages, and everything said about the cells refers to cages. We will talk about the adaptation of cages to breeding canaries and parrots in the chapter on these birds.
Aviaries. Aviaries are called large, tall and spacious rooms that look like huge cages and allow birds to fly freely in them.
The negative qualities of the cages do not have a place in the enclosure. Aviaries are arranged so large that the birds do not interfere with each other. In aviaries, they usually keep a wide variety of birds, which allows observation of the relationships between birds of different species among themselves. When settling an aviary, two rules must be adhered to: do not create crowding of the bird population in them, since in this case the whole point of arranging the aviary disappears; do not place birds in aviaries,
in the natural setting of attackers and offending others, for example shrikes of all kinds, great tits (the last with a reservation), oak-trees and blackbirds. (In general, for the first time after the aviary has been populated, it is necessary to observe all the birds placed in it; if any of the birds finds an ungracious and grumpy disposition, expressed in fights with others, in their pursuit, in the constant “subscription” of feeders, these birds must be removed immediately from the aviary.)
It is possible to group birds in enclosures according to the most diverse signs: by the nature of their nutrition, by the biocenoses in which they live in nature (birds of the forest, meadows, swamps, etc.), by systematic signs, etc.
The keeping of birds in open-air cages, where it is sometimes possible to create a semblance of the ecological environment surrounding the bird in nature, is extremely interesting. Since only in this case it is possible to make almost all of our birds reproduce under the conditions of keeping them “at our place” (it must be borne in mind, however, that if we strive to breed birds in the aviary, then it should not, firstly, be large the number of pairs, and secondly, there should not be several pairs of the same species of birds, which in nature have protected or nesting sites, such as finches).
When starting a bird in an aviary, it is necessary to keep it in the cage for some time, and not immediately there after capture. Recently caught birds, frightened, hit the grid of the aviary in a big way and can crash to death. (In this regard, I had a sad experience with finches, bullfinches and oatmeal. Several of these birds, immediately released into the aviary, crashed to death.) It is also necessary to observe that the birds placed in the aviary orient themselves in it and find feeders and drinkers (otherwise case they may die of hunger).
After these preliminary remarks, I turn to the description of the device of two types of enclosures – indoor and outdoor enclosures.
Indoor Aviary. When arranging enclosures in a room, the brightest part of the room with the window is usually separated for her. The window is closed by a frame with a mesh stretched over it, otherwise the birds may break, hitting a transparent glass. With this arrangement of the enclosures, two walls are enough for it, since the walls of the room will be its two other walls. The walls can be made up to the ceiling or a little lower than it, in the second case, an aviary needs its own roof.
The walls of the enclosures are made of wooden frames corresponding to the sizes of the enclosures. A wire, preferably non-oxidizing, galvanized wire mesh with cells no more than 1.5 cm across is pulled onto these walls. If there is a roof in the aviary, it is also made of a wooden frame with the same wire mesh stretched over it. In one of the walls of the enclosures, a door is made of such height and width so that an adult can freely pass through it into the enclosure. In an aviary, it is better to make a special floor, and not use the floor of the room for it. In the latter case, rats and mice can enter the enclosure with particular ease. (Again, I will refer to my sad experience – a rat climbed into my aviary, the floor of which was (oak parquet) the floor of the room, and bit more than 20 budgies in one night.)
If there is a special floor in the enclosure, it is always easy to notice attempts by rodents to gnaw it and to avoid this, corners and sides of the enclosure floor can be upholstered with thin tin. You should always remember that the rats and mice are the worst enemies of the birds "at home"!
The side walls of the enclosures from below the floor must be picked up with boards approximately 25-35 cm high. This protects the room from litter, and also allows you not to disturb the birds that run on the floor.
Internal "inventory" of aviaries can be very different. Of course, first of all, it is necessary to place feeders, drinking bowls and bathtubs for bathing birds in it. If there are windows in the aviary, drinking bowls and feeders are best placed on the windowsill, where they will be less polluted by birds. In the absence of a window sill, a sloping canopy is nailed over the drinkers and feeders, protecting them from pollution from above.
Usually, tree stumps, felled small spruces, branches of various trees, etc. are usually placed in the enclosure. than on branches of trees extending from different angles. Fresh flowers and shrubs can be placed in open-air cages in jars and jars, but this should not be particularly recommended, because the birds pollute them very much and the “appearance” of such plants lasts for several days.
If living plants for washing are removed from the enclosures, then this process is very worrying and frightening birds. On the walls of the enclosures hang bird houses, tits, nest boxes. In the large room enclosure that I had, I kept a wide variety of birds together, observing the rules mentioned above when placing them there. Most of the birds, probably because of the crowded population in the aviary, did not breed in me, but budgies and nests repeatedly built nests and laid eggs.
Aviaries in the open air. If possible, the device in the open air enclosure is highly desirable and appropriate.
The advantages of these enclosures will be: constantly clean and fresh air for birds, the ability to make a large enclosure, the ease of creating a “natural” environment in it. All this will allow, firstly, to conduct systematic observations of birds
in conditions close to nature, and secondly, in open-air cages. air, large enough in size, with the “ecological” (close to the natural habitat of birds) environment created by Her, the birds are especially easy to begin to build nests and lay eggs, to hatch and feed the chicks.
It should also be noted that in the open-air cage in the open air almost all of our, usually migratory, birds can be kept without bringing into the rooms all year round. This is a good illustration of the situation that birds make their flights not because of the cold and bad weather, but mainly because of the lack and difficulty of getting food in the winter and because of the short daylight hours during which they do not have time to get enough for a day.
The positive quality of keeping birds in the open air should also be recognized as the fact that in these enclosures birds with red plumage – crossbills, lentils, and pike (partly bullfinches) – almost do not change color after molting, while when kept in rooms their plumage after molting turns orange, yellow, or dirty yellow. When placing and selecting birds for these enclosures, it is necessary to adhere to the same rules that have already been indicated for indoor enclosures.
The open-air cage should be quadrangular, high enough and wide. (Everything said about the "pretentious" and "beautiful" cages fully applies to the enclosures. We must remember that the decoration is birds, not rooms for birds.)
The door to the aviary should not open directly to the outside, and a small vestibule is arranged in front of it, preventing the birds from flying out through the aviary door when a person enters it. It is desirable to have an aviary with a facade to the southeast and east, and the side facing north (or towards constantly blowing winds) should be taken from the top to the top with boards to avoid "drafts" and slanting rain. Aviaries also cover part of the roof with some waterproof material used to cover the roof (tiles, roofing, iron, etc.). This allows birds to avoid rain and snow. The wooden parts of the enclosure should be made of possibly harder rock, and the corner posts dug into the ground should either be smeared with creosote or fired. The walls of the enclosures are made of wire mesh. The use of a mesh of non-oxidizing (stainless) wire is mandatory; outside and inside the wooden parts of the enclosures are painted with oil paint.
The inventory of open-air cages is about the same as the indoor one, but, of course, it is much easier to plant “live” plants — shrubs, small trees, etc. in the cage. When planting plants, you cannot plant them too close to each other, so how the creation of a “thicket” will make it difficult to clean the enclosures, and will also hinder bird observation.
When choosing a place for building an enclosure, it is especially good to set aside an area under it where trees and shrubs already grow, since in this case you will have a full guarantee of keeping the plants in the enclosure in a “live” form.
All sorts of planting and transplantation should be done in early spring, before buds open, and better before birds are placed in aviaries. The part of the enclosures where the feeders and drinking bowls will be placed or suspended should remain without plants and sprinkled with clean sand. The sizes of these enclosures in the open air are desirable possibly large.
Here, in essence, all the necessary instructions on the premises in which we can keep songbirds "at our place."
Without observing the rules for the construction of cages, aviaries and bird cages, it is impossible to start birds, since birds placed on premises that do not correspond to them will certainly die.