A.F.A. visits ... the aviaries of lean Reynolds


Despite urban development closing in and earthquake rumblings, many of our avian friends continue to find sanctuary in small, tree-shaded havens in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. And even with the continual bombardment of "Mother Earth's" aftershocks, the birds have settled in after the January, 1994 jolt to raise more babies.

One such aviary is that of Jean Reynolds. In her small and wellorganized avian oasis, lovebirds, Neophemas and Zebra Finches breed steadily under her care. Her aviaries were designed in the early 1980s by her late husband, Merrill. Together the Reynolds picked up a bad case of bird-hobbyist fever after purchasing their first lovebird in 1979. Their indoor avian family continued to grow until feathers began landing in Mr. Reynolds' salad at the dinner table and the birds had to move outside.

Employed in the carpentry trade, Mr. Reynolds built some aviaries. The Reynolds visited many aviculturists in Southern California seeking advice for design and set up as well as proper care and feeding of the feathered friends. The main lovebird house is divided into 12 cubicles, each measuring approximately 30 in. by 40 in. and the house stands 7 ft. tall. Up to four pairs of birds share each section, where four or five boxes are offered for nesting near the top on a shelf. The boxes measure 6 in. wide by 7 in. long by 6 in. deep with a 21/2 in. wide entrance which the birds often enlarge on


their own by chewing. The boxes can easily be removed from the

helf for inspection. Palm fronds are offered for nesting material. Peachface and masked lovebirds are kept apart and are only housed with others of their own species.

The lovebirds are offered a diet


which the Reynolds fashioned from one created by longtime lovebird breeder John Biggs. Three parts dried corn are mixed with one part red wheat and one part milo. The mixture is cooked in the slow cooker (Crockpot) over night, rinsed and kept in the


refrigerator until fed. One heaping teaspoon is given to every two pairs of birds and more is offered when babies are being reared. Mrs. Reynolds also offers parakeet and finch mix to her lovebirds.

Normal, pied and lutino Peachface are bred in Mrs. Reynolds' aviaries along with Bluemasked Lovebirds. The "normal" bird blood lines are important to keep, Mrs. Reynolds says, and she breeds back her mutation stock to normal birds for size and strength in her birds.

The Neophema flights measure 30 in. wide by 6 ft. long by 7 ft. high. One or two pair of Neophemas are housed together, but they are of different species. Bourkes might be housed with Turquosines or with Elegants. An English budgie-style nest box is used for the Neophemas with an entry area in front of the actual nesting chamber. Pine shavings are replaced after each clutch and Mrs. Reynolds leaves her nest boxes up year round. They are taken down for cleaning and she lets her birds choose their own rest cycle in between rearing babies. The Neophemas are fed similarly to the lovebirds with the grain mix and seed. Fresh celery

stalks are also offered to all of the hookbills.

Zebra finches are raised in two, 4 ft. by 4 ft. aviaries made of l/z in. x l/z in. hardware cloth. Twenty to 30 pair are kept in each colony and nest boxes line the back wall of the flight.