Bird call to keep Cook Park aviary

Bird call to keep Cook Park aviary

FOR THE BIRDS: Orange Bird Society president Tony Ford hopes Orange City Council keeps the Cook Park aviary. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0301aviaryBIRD enthusiasts are calling on Orange City Council to keep Cook Park’s bird aviary open as questions surround the future of the facility.

“Lots of people go to the park to look at the attractions and read information about them,” Orange Bird Society president Tony Ford said.

The society’s treasurer Ray Smith agreed.

“It would be disappointing if it closes because birds are animals that people don’t get to see,” he said.

“It’s a positive thing for Orange to have. If they moved it somewhere else it would need the same access.”

The future of the bird aviary was brought up as part of community consultations to form a draft master plan for the park, Orange City Council corporate and community relations manager Nick Redmond said.

Consultants preparing the plan hope to maintain and enhance the Union Jack layout of the park but the aviary is in the way.

“Questions were raised about whether it was a council core business to hold a licence for fauna,” Mr Redmond said.

Mr Ford said in the past bird lovers had concerns about the treatment of native birds in the aviary but now the birds appeared to be healthy.

“A lot of people don’t like to see birds in aviaries,” Mr Ford said.

“But nowadays they’ve been bred there, they wouldn’t know how to survive in the wild.”

Mr Redmond said there may be an animal welfare argument against the aviary but the council always met the high standards of their licence to keep the birds.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is the licensing authority for the aviary.

The DPI’s exhibited animals leader Matthew Crane said the licence sets standards for the welfare of the animals including the enclosures, social arrangements, diet and the educational value of the signage.

While he could not comment on the conditions of the park’s aviary, he said licences were renewed each year with regular inspections part of the process.

Mr Smith said in the past bird society members were instrumental in running the aviary with many donating birds and helping to clean and maintain the facility before it was taken over by council.

“People in the club would be happy to be more involved,” he said.

“Since there is a dedicated bird society in Orange there is a lot of knowledge from the members of our club.”

Mr Redmond said it was still early days for the draft plan and all views would be balanced in the document when it comes back to councillors.

The community will again be able to have input on future plans for Cook Park in April.

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