Of all the thicket aviary inhabitants, Henry, the friendly bulbul, is the most prominent.  He welcomes whoever enters the aviary, perches on their shoulders and enjoys pecking at their beauty marks and jewellery. A short while after Henry arrived at the aviary we discovered that, to our great surprise, he was without his tail feathers! The initial suspect was a large young whip snake, part of the natural fauna of the area that had found its way into the aviary and made one of the logs on the ground its home. The snake can sometimes be seen basking in the sun beside its log. Perhaps the real guilty one, however, is one of the visitors, who while Henry was standing on their shoulder tried to hold him and was left with poor Henry's tail feathers in their hand. But don't worry, the tail feathers have started to grow again and Henry's flight has not been affected.  

Who else is in the the thicket aviary? Mosquito fish and Galilee tilapias are swimming in the pond, where several toads also live. About 20 spur-thighed tortoises and several starred agama can be seen strolling on the ground, and in the dense vegetation you can encounter a common little bittern, a great spotted cuckoo, a Namaqua dove, a European turtle dove, a laughing dove, a corncrake, and a common whitethroat with one eye and one wing, which we received after it had been treated at the Wildlife Hospital. The vegetation features a variety of shelters and feeding tables that we installed for the birds and tortoises.  

in the thicket aviary, photos: Ilil Pratt

1. Fish in the thicket aviary pond; 2. A high and hidden feeding table; 3. A spur-thighed tortoise walking across the aviary floor; 4. The log in which the great whip snake lives, photos: Ilil Pratt 

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