Written By Jackie During - Tuesday, 20 April 2010

4th July 2010

A little background on Birds of Eden, from their website:


"This is the world’s largest free flight aviary, the new Birds of Eden Bird Sanctuary situated outside Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape, South Africa...The motivation behind the sanctuary was to create a free, although enclosed, natural environment into which some marmosets and tamarins, as well as previously caged birds of different species could be released.  The main aim was to focus on mostly African species, but to also allow for a variety of pet birds to be offered a better life in this ‘free’ but safe environment...The inhabitants of the sanctuary ranges from a mixture of exotic to African and indigenous birds.  The birds stock come from various places and includes previously caged pet birds.  This is why a great percentage of the inhabitants are completely tame and unafraid of humans.  The array of different birds incorporate about 180 species that ranges from parrots, parakeets, hornbills, toucans, touracos, starlings, thrushes, conures, cranes, flamingoes, ibises, waterfowl, swans as well as tamarins and fruit bats."


We spent a good few hours here, but to be honest it was not near enough, and I am hoping to return when Charlie and I head up coast in late August. The setting can only be described as, and I repeat myself here, "Indiana Jones-like" forest, dense canopy, ravines, waterfalls and suspended bridges and walkways...


The bird's diets are supplemented with suspended feeders at intervals along the walkways, and many of the birds alow one to get quite close...although I wouldn't recommend sticking a hand out, I was even asked to remove my earrings before entering the sanctuary as some of the birds would most likely try steal them!


The variety of bird species is mind boggling and watching, and hearing Amazon parrots flying over head, Turacos hopping along the handrails and conures chattering in groups in the mid-canopy is probably beyond description. Photography is far from easy as the dappled light snd dense forest are very challenging, but then the odd bird settles close enough and the waterbirds are easy to photograph...


They do sell a little booklet so that one may ID some of the birds, unfortuantely I do not know what the names of all the species photographed are, if anyone does, let me know!