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Hamilton aviary set to shut down as volunteers seek to re-home birds – Hamilton

The Hamilton Aviary, in operation for almost 100 years, will soon be no more and some 20-plus birds are set to be re-homed after a new permanent refuge for them could not be found.

A veterinarian and Friends of the Aviary will soon begin a search to find homes for the animals months after consultants noted the building at 85 Oak Knoll Dr. needed significant repairs.

The aviary has been in the care of the Friends since taking over the aviary from the city in 1992 and securing a new home at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in the mid-’90s after departing Dundurn Castle due to a renovation.

The fate of the exotic birds, including parrots and finches, came into question in 2017 when discussions about the deterioration of the Churchill Park building first took place.

In recent times, the outlet has been operating with a month-to-month lease through the RBG.

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City staff say without a long-term lease, the group cannot apply for capital grants that would provide the funds needed to continue.

“It’s not just the capital, it’s the operating (costs),” Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson said.

“Because it’s right now a closed site, then it does raise questions of its future.”

The aviary has been operating as a closed entity for some time and hasn’t been taking in new birds in years.

In 2010, it housed 65 birds before dwindling to 37 in 2010 and just 25 in 2023.

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The city expects to save some $57,000 annually with the closure.

Expenses related to re-homing the birds are not yet known and completion of the task is expected no later than Oct. 30, 2024.

The Public Works Committee’s vote Monday in favour of the closure still needs ratification from city council.

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