Poor little man, he will get settled one of these days! Well, for a while now, he has been slowing down a bit, he's very elderly as bantams go now, and he has been spending a lot of his time in his house, mainly because it's always raining I suppose, but also, I've noticed when he does venture out into the garden, he often ends up just laying down somewhere, or else running back to his house if something scares him. Well combined with this, and the worry I always have of maybe something coming in the garden and getting him, plus also the difficulties of being looked after if I want to go away for a few days, I thought I'd try putting him in my aviary again today. Last time I tried, he was okay for about 10 minutes then was jumping up and down at the wire trying to get out. This time however, success! He seemed quite content scratching around in the sand, and looking for worms (there are a few) so I left him in there whilst I took Emma to the beach, and went shopping. I had a cunning plan in mind. If he was to stay in the aviary, he would need his own pad, because he would prefer a bit of comfort and privacy from those budgies and cockatiels I'm sure. So I looked around and found the ideal thing at Pets at Home (oh how I love that store, wish I had shares in it) I knew what I had in mind, and they had it! And cheap too, only £24.50 for a small dog kennel, flat pack, which was also what I needed, because I had to assemble it inside the aviary, else I wouldn't be able to get it in the doorway, also very heavy, so I could carry the panels up individually. I can't believe it was so cheap, Barry and I used to make things like that to sell and no way could we have made one to sell for that price, ours were about double that and I'm talking 10 years ago.
So this afternoon, I spent a couple of hours assembling, much cursing and swearing though because it used big bolts with an allen key which was absolutely useless and kept rounding off inside the heads of the bolts, I had to go and find another one and use pliers to do them up! Also, dog kennels don't come equipped with a perch for roosting,(obviously) so had to make one of those and fix it to the sides before I put the roof on. Anyway, really, really chuffed with the result, and I think Diddy is impressed too. I just popped up to see and he's in there! Bless him. I will still let him out when I am at home, he needs a bit of grass now and then, and of course, it will mean more mess for me in the aviary, but for peace of mind, I feel very relieved. It will be easier for anyone looking after him too because the wild birds won't be taking his food, and he won't need to be let out and shut in, he can please himself. And most of all, he will be safe and not so lonely, as he often lays up alongside the aviary, the birds are used to him too so aren't scared that he's in there. In winter, I maybe will put it inside the shed itself with the other birds, for extra warmth for him, because of course I have the oil-filled rad on in there in really cold weather. For the time being though, I have faced the doorway away so it's sheltered, and I will probably turn it completely towards the shed, or maybe make a little door that will give even more cosiness. All I have to do now is make sure the budgies don't chew it. I think I may put a cover over it, so it will be able to be wiped down easily too, don't want it covered in poop!
Just one other thing, whilst I was in the aviary, I heard the familiar panic chirping from the housesparrows in the holly. I knew the hawk had dived in, so I went out and shouted clear off (yeah really, I did..) and to my surprise it did - but it wasn't the normal hawk. This was tiny, tiny, almost dark blue on top and white underneath, about the size of a blackbird. It flew down and landed in a tree in the neighbours garden. All I can come up with is a male Sparrowhawk I suppose, but I thought I'd got something else here like a Merlin at first.
He approves, thank god!