Family favourite aviary attraction to be rebuilt

Residents and visitors to Bournemouth will soon be able to hear the squawks, chirps and chatter of almost 200 birds enjoying the new aviary that’s being built following a campaign to raise funds by The Parks Foundation and BCP Council.

The existing aviary is a sanctuary for tropical birds who have been rehomed. The heritage attraction dates to the 1930s, with the current building designed in the 1980s and in desperate need of replacement.

The new Cooper-Thompson Rescue Aviary, designed by Morgan Carey Architects, will create more flight space for the birds and provide visitors with a 360-degree viewing experience. The work is due to start in September with the new facility being built to higher welfare standards by Avon Construction.

Aviary supporters, residents and visitors have kindly fundraised over £266,225 with an additional £150,000 to rebuild the much-loved heritage attraction from Community Infrastructure Levy funds from both The Parks Foundation and BCP Council. The new building will be a landmark structure with a 50-year guaranteed minimum life span which is being built to ensure exemplary bird care standards.

Derek Heritage, a volunteer at the aviary said: “Following the threat of closure nearly 20 years ago our loyal band of volunteers have looked after the birds and saved this wonderful aviary which has been enjoyed by generations of residents and visitors. 

“We are all delighted that the money has now been raised as not only will the birds get the new home they so richly deserve, but residents and visitors will enjoy a fantastic free attraction in the heart of Bournemouth. 

“This is a triumph for the town which has been borne out of a wonderful working relationship between BCP Council, the volunteers, The Parks Foundation and the sponsors United Taxis.

“It has been tough raising the funds in the recent economic climate, but thanks to the support of local organisations and the amazing generosity of residents and visitors to Bournemouth we have now been rewarded.”

Andy Matthew, Trustee of The Parks Foundation and owner of Natterjacks Vets said: “The Parks Foundation adopted the aviary as its first project to fundraise for, so I’m really pleased it's reached its fundraising target.

“The aviary will enable new generations to get up close to an amazing array of bird species in a high welfare environment which will not only help to promote responsible bird-keeping but more importantly be a source of education and inspiration as we battle to preserve our planet's dwindling biodiversity.

“We would like to thank BCP Council, Canford Environmental Ltd and Dr Rodney & Mrs Elaine Cooper (who are establishing the Cooper-Thompson Trust) for their generous donations to help us rebuild the aviary, as well as the many other public donations we’ve received.”

Cllr Mark Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Cleansing and Waste, said: “I am delighted that the funds have been raised to rebuild a staple part of Bournemouth’s history. Through the generosity of the public alongside some additional funding from both the council and The Parks Foundation, this attraction will continue to provide a base for rehomed birds for years to come.

“We take great pride in what we do, and this new aviary will not only provide more comfort to the birds but will be built with sustainability in mind. I have enjoyed visiting the aviary over the years with my parents and in more recent years visiting with my children, so I’m already looking forward to going again and seeing the birds flourish in their new, improved home.”

Donations are still being accepted to the aviary appeal to help raise the final monies needed for the internal landscaping and fixtures, as well as for the ongoing cost of bird food, water, heating and cleaning materials needed by the volunteers each and every day. Donate online here or by calling 01202 123292.

The Parks Foundation is an independent charity focussed on creating inspirational parks throughout Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole’s 450+ parks and green spaces. The charity deliver community projects and fundraise for environment projects designed to improve people’s health and wellbeing, reconnect them with nature, and bring diverse communities together.

Posted on Tuesday 24 August 2021