On entering Birds of Eden, one is immediately reminded of the familiar religious story of Adam and Eve. Lush forests, giant trees, swooping tropical birds, wooden walk-ways that seem to have no end, mystical ruins , streams and waterfalls, Birds of Eden is a treat for the senses.
The aviary, which opened on the 15th December 2005 has been a most popular destination for tourists and locals alike; I, myself have been to visit four times in the last seven years. More than a unique destination, Birds of Eden is a place in which to connect with your “natural” side and to communicate in a language full of “cheeps”, “whistles” and “cruuuus”.
Try to go as early as possible, as hoards of picture-taking guests may disturb your birding experience. Saying that, it is amazing how each and every person, as if inspired by a unique respect for the birds, are either silent or speak in whispers. When confronted by a majestic blue crane on one of the narrow walkways guests of the aviary stop in their tracks, (or backtrack) in order to give the bird plenty of space to “do its thing”.
- Aviary: (“an aviary is a large enclosure for confining birds. It allows birds to fly and often has plants and shrubbery to simulate a natural environment”).
- 70% of the Birds of Eden aviary is indigenous forest.
- Birds of Eden is the world’s largest aviary (two hectare dome), hosts its own mysterious ruin, a walk-behind waterfall and a 200-seater amphitheatre.
- Many of the birds come from previous pet-owners who want to rehabilitate their pets into a natural environment, explaining why some of the parrots are unafraid of human beings and appear tame.
- Many others are birds confiscated from zoos or from irreputable breeders who have forced the birds into small caged environments.
- 50% of the birds are exotic and 50% African birds.
- There are 60 different species of parrots.
- Rehabilitation involves: socialisation with other birds, building up of flight muscles, learning flight control etc…
- Bird lovers and biologists will marvel at the eight species of Tauraco in the aviary (including the infamous Knysna loerie. (The best place to see them is to look up, high into the tops of the canopy, where, if you are perceptive (or extremely lucky) will see a flashing red wing- or two!
Some birds to look out for:
- Channel Billed toucan
- Black necked and Green Aracaris
- White Tailed and Inca Jays
- Blue, Gold and Green Wing Macaw
- Conures (12 species)
- Ringnecks (and other parakeets and lorikeets)
- Flamingoes (Greater and Caribbean)
- Cranes (Blue cranes and Crowned cranes)
Food for thought: A bird's heart beats 400 times per minute while they are at rest. When they are flying however, their heart could beat up to 1000 beats per minute.
- Guests of Bamboo Guesthouse who would like to visit Birds of Eden can borrow a set of binoculars. Please ask at reception.