Going behind the scenes at the aviary

A pair of blue crowned laughing thrushes
A pair of blue crowned laughing thrushes

A video of a critically endangered chick at the aviary at Waddesdon Manor has been viewed more than 45,000 times.

The video shows a four day old blue crowned laughing thrush chick at the aviary, which is home to 45 different species of birds.

The 45-second video of the thrush, filmed by Callum Leslie-Draper from the Waddesdon Manor marketing team shows the thrush being fed by aviary staff.

It has been viewed more than 45,000 times on Facebook after being shared by the National Trust.

The video is also available to view on YouTube.

The aviary was built in 1889 and over the years has bred a number of species for the first time in captivity.

Senior aviculturalist Gavin Harrison said: “Almost half of the birds we breed here at the aviary are critically endangered.

“Some of the rare birds we have here at the moment include the black and white laughing thrush and the mountain peacock pheasant.”

There are three full-time members of staff at the aviary plus eight volunteers who contribute up to two working days each a week.

Historically the aviary mainly kept parrots but now primarily keeps songbirds, pigeons, doves, pheasants, barbets and turacos.

Mr Harrison said: “The rarest species we have is the Socorro dove, which is extinct in the wild.

“The only place it was previously found was the Socorro island, off the west coast of Mexico.

“Part of our plan is to try and re-introduce that species into the wild.”

Among the critically endangered species are the Rothschild mynah (endemic to Bali) and the blue crowned laughing thrush (endemic to China).

The main risks to the birds are habitat loss, hunting and capture for the cage-bird trade.

Mr Harrison said: “We are a member of EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) and have programmes to manage a variety of rare birds.”

There will be a chance for children to look around the aviary today (Wednesday) at an event called Meet Mimi the Mynah and Friends between 2.30pm and 4pm.

This includes the chance to meet and get up close to some of the rare birds including the aviary’s mascot Mimi.

The event costs £5 per child.

For more details or to book your place visit http://www.waddesdon.org.uk/events/meet-mimi-the-mynah-and-friends

Tours of the aviary take place on Wednesdays throughout August.

To book a place contact 01296 653286.