Avian Expert Articles

Making Space For The Parrots: Adding On A Bird Room

Starting construction

Many of you may know me by having a parrot supply store over the past decade. I was fortunate that I made my love, my job. I made my mark on a sleepy little Jersey Shore town but like all good things, they come to an end. After a 40-year career with the military for my husband, retirement was calling. We had talked about moving for years. I was in no hurry, but that didn’t slow him down. In order to convince me to leave my home and business behind, he promised me the bird room of my dreams.

When looking for a house, my only requirement was a room with a lot of windows for the birds or a good spot to build one. I did not want one on ground level if possible. I wanted them up in the air, safe from prying eyes or predators of any kind. I also required that we lived within 100 miles of a board-certified avian vet. I placed a push pin on a map and drew a circle around Charlotte, North Carolina. We settled in a little community not far over the North Carolina border in South Carolina.

A Bird Addition

bird room cabinets
Work station/storage cabinets for the birds’ accessories

We were very fortunate that we found a decent house in a very hot market. Unfortunately, it did not have an area for the birds, and we needed to build an aviary of sorts onto the house. The house did have a back porch that would make the addition easier because the footings were already there. We downsized from our place in New Jersey, but moved my mother. This added to our household of two adults and six parrots. It was very congested with all the cages and trees with nowhere to go. We stored our dining room set as well as some furniture just so we could have a path to walk for our adjusted and larger family.

I was concerned about having an area under construction, because and birds have a more delicate respiratory system than humans do. When I was younger, a family member was removing walls in their house and did not remove their birds out of the house. All the birds died.

Keeping The Birds Safe

I wanted to make sure I did a lot of research on what products to use, learn about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and how to handle everything that was airborne. Some extra research was involved with calling companies to talk about green products and what would work best in my home.
We had a lot of work done to the house prior to us moving in because of the birds, but this was something I needed to be here for. I could not move the birds out because we were brand new to the area. We did not know anyone to help

All the birds were kept away from any construction that was done by being isolated in their own room that was located at the other end of the house. There was constant cleaning each day of the area, and only access to the room as needed by the workers to minimize dust. Most of the work was done prior to the French doors being installed to adjoin the new sunroom to the rest of the house. From the window spacing to the angle of the ceilings, I was involved in every aspect of the construction.

finished bird roomA “Green Floor”

I was able to find a wonderful waterproof green product (low VOCs) called Coretec Plus to use on the floor. I honestly wish I had it installed throughout my entire house instead of the hardwood floors. It was installed in the “floating” fashion and not glued to avoid fumes. Coretec has earned the GREENGUARD Gold Certification. This means this flooring has passed the Environmental Institute’s most stringent testing requirement for emissions of formaldehyde, aldehydes, phenols, and other VOCs.

I needed a work space and storage in the new room, so I researched cabinets as well as countertops. Unless I had cabinets custom made, they were not going to be low-VOC, so they were purchased early and aired out outside on the covered porch prior to use. The countertop I chose was made by Livingstone. The materials were also GREENGUARD gold certified for low/no VOC emissions and are safe for children and schools.

The walls, trim, and ceiling were painted with Natura by Benjamin Moore. Another low-VOC product that is easily washed once food is flung. Natura is certified asthma & allergy friendly. The asthma & allergy friendly® certification program independently tests and identifies consumer products that are more suitable for those living with asthma and allergies. Natura has earned the Certification Mark by achieving the Program’s strict criteria for VOC emissions and performance.

We had outlets installed near the ceiling on a timer in the event I chose to hang full spectrum lighting up for them down the road. Right now, they are currently used by nightlights. We installed room darkening shades for privacy and to regulate the temperature in colder weather since there are more windows than wall space.

A hidden special touch I made was to enclose a St. Francis metal and prayer card within the walls on each side of the room. The air ducts and vents were one of the last things to be tied in to the conditioning system to reduce any dust that may have been distributed throughout the rest of house when it kicked on.

A Room Of Their Own

bird room
A screened-in porch makes for a great place to relax witth the flock.

Once the bird room was completed, I had air purification systems running 24/7 to get any of the lingering VOCs that may have found their way in there, out. Little-by-little I started introducing them to their new room and the environment. They seemed to really pick up with all the natural lighting and enrichment right outside their window watching the wild birds and nature abound. Our property backs up to a river, and there are always little animals running or flying for entertainment. The birds finally had their own designated space, and I was able to get my belongings out of storage.

We also had a screened-in room added adjoining the bird room and a second set of doors added that can be opened on nice days. It doubles the size of their room. I often sit out there to do work and watch them. The last part of the addition was a deck. I am able to roll cages and trees out to the deck by myself to power wash everything when needed.

The birds still have their second smaller room with their sleep cages for night. It is easier for me to control the amount of artificial light to help with hormones as well as colder winter temperatures with having a rug on the floor. They are able to get uninterrupted sleep in a quieter place in the house at night, yet have the sun and best view from the house during the day.

While I miss a lot about the life I left behind in New Jersey, I am happy that I am able to give the birds the best life possible. I’ve dreamt about this room since I was a child.

5 thoughts on “Making Space For The Parrots: Adding On A Bird Room

  1. I bought my house with my birds in mind. I hope in the future to make changes to their room, and will be referring to your article a lot. Thank you for all the research you did for your birds, and this will help me a lot. I have a carport that I am thinking about enclosing with a roll-door that I will be able to use for double purposes. This way I can bring my car in or close of and use for the birds. My carport is just outside my bird room.

  2. Thank you for this article. i have 7 birds and i am thinking about putting in new floors and this gave me some things to consider. i had a bird room similar to what you have now in looks in a walk out daylight basement. i even had a low box paint in a color similar to yours. sadly i had to downsize so now my birds live in 2 separate bedrooms and the java tree is in the combination kitchen living room which is not ideal. someday i will have my bird room back and i can use your room to help me get what both i and i’m sure the birds want.

  3. A great story about your love for your birds. I’m in the flooring business rss and so happy to hear about your product.. enjoy tour new house; it’s hard to leave what we love behind but you’ll create new memories.

    1. Hi Lisa…we are neighbors! That’s a gorgeous room you’ve built…thank you for sharing it! Two years ago we moved to just south of where you probably and haven’t have any luck finding a contractor to enclose our covered porch to make a bird room for our parrots, let alone one that would use safe materials. I would love to connect with you…the Lafeber folks have my permission to share my email address with you.

  4. What a beautiful room. We had a similar situation and finally downsized from almost 3k sq feet to 1208. After looking at four bedrooms that we could convert two to a larger room or convert a garage but with space to build a garage, we found a house with an enclosed sunroom that was the biggest room in the house. I’ve removed sliding doors and had to install a custom door (short because of the sloping ceilings), so I can work on enclosing an aviary and no escapees. Wish my ceilings were higher but it was the lesser evil of downsizing.

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