Preservation Parks of Delaware County broke ground on a new aviary last week.
The aviary is expected to open in the spring at Deer Haven Park, 4183 Liberty Road, Delaware. Deer Haven is next to Liberty Township’s Havener Park.
“We’ve had a bird sanctuary here from the very beginning,” said Preservation Parks Executive Director Tom Curtin. “This aviary will now enable us to take our bird program to the next level.”
The 97-acre Deer Haven features the Amy Clark-Bader Bird Sanctuary. The aviary will be built across from the visitor center.
“It’s tucked back in the woods,” said Matt Simpson, senior park planner. “There’s an enclosure that’s like a shed for storing equipment and supplies. Then there’s three mews, which is the enclosures. There will be a little pathway to connect to the trail system here that will come over and connect to the pollinator garden. People will be able to walk in any time the park is open, and there will be interpretive signs.”
There will also be “endless opportunities” for programs with the birds, said Rich Niccum, education services manager.
“I know the education staff is ecstatic about this project,” Niccum added. “To have additional education tools when our school groups come out and they can see and talk about the live birds we’ll have on exhibit here, and be able to share some more wonders of nature that they might not otherwise get to see.”
The building is expected to be completed by year’s end, Niccum said. Preservation Parks volunteers will be trained over the winter, and the aviary will be open in spring of 2020.
The mews are designed for birds of prey, which will be provided by Ohio Nature Education, a private nonprofit organization in Johnstown that provides homes for permanently injured wild animals.
“We’re very excited to see this day finally come and start sending different birds of prey out here,” said Ohio Nature Education founder Manon VanSchoyck. “We know that for Preservation Parks of Delaware County, it will increase your guests and give them an opportunity to get close to some of these wonderful animals.”
Nicknamed “Mrs. Van,” VanSchoyck and volunteer Deb Luckeydoo were on hand for the groundbreaking on Oct. 24, bringing along two full-grown Eastern screech owls, Rusty and Otis.
Mrs. Van said park visitors will be able to see birds of prey such as the screech owl, great horned owl, barn owl, bard owl, turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk and red-shouldered hawk. She said the birds will be rotated on a quarterly basis.
For more information, visit preservationparks.com.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.