Retirement for the birds at Craigmore aged care home
FIFTY birds have moved into a Craigmore retirement home.
Canaries, finches, doves, quails and bantam chickens have moved in to give human residents the comfort of keeping pets.
Estia Health at Craigmore has converted a courtyard into a sanctuary for its avian assortment.
“We have a lot of residents that used to have chickens or birds at home before they came here – so it’s nice for them,” the home’s executive director, Laura Hall, said.
“They can’t always participate, but at least they can sit there and watch it and enjoy it.”
One of the more active residents, Fred Dunseith, 87, has lived at the home for more than eight years and now spends every day watching and interacting with the birds.
“When I heard about the bird sanctuary, I thought it was out of this world,” he said.
“It was the best feeling in my life."
“I didn’t do much here – I used to spend a lot of time in my room.”
Estia Health Craigmore has opened a bird sanctuary for residents to enjoy
Mr Dunseith has helped to research and choose the birds that would be best suited to live together in the sanctuary.
He has become the resident aviary expert at Estia Craigmore.
“I used to have most of these birds at my home years ago,” Mr Dunseith said.
“The canaries and the Gouldian finch are my favourite birds, but I do love them all.”
Australia’s Gouldian finch population has rapidly declined from millions to just 2500 adults estimated now to be in the wild – through disease, introduced predators and trapping.
The home is hoping to breed their Gouldian finches and build their numbers.
“We’re waiting until it’s a bit warmer to get some more Gouldian finches because they’re a bit fragile,” Ms Hall said.
“Fred wants them to breed because they’re so rare now, so we need to keep the numbers going.”
Ms Hall has already had interest from other homes hoping to introduce a similar set-up.
“We’re hoping to do starter packs (of young birds) for other homes,” she said.
Staff are also enjoying the mood and colour of the sanctuary, even spending time there after finishing work.
“I find myself staying back, taking photos and just having a look,” administration officer Bev Rayner said.
“It just has that calming effect – and it really is lovely.”
Article originally by Kaysee Miller, Northern Weekly Messenger October 4, 2018