District News

Farmington High opens school aviary

Farmington High Aviary

Amidst the birds squawking approval in the background, Farmington High opened up what may be one of the only aviaries located in a high school nationwide.

The aviary, set up by students in the school’s ornithology program, features a red and green macaw pair in the South America exhibit, Fischer lovebirds in the Africa display and Eastern rosella birds and Grasskeets in the Australia section. A grand opening was held on Friday, Oct. 29, to introduce the aviary to the community.

            The concept for a school aviary began nearly a year ago when Farmington High Science Chair Adam Blundell began looking for a place in the school to house several birds for the ornithology program.

“We like to have animals in the classroom because it gives us the best teaching opportunity for students to see them up close and personal,” said Blundell, who teaches zoology and ornithology classes at Farmington High. “We want students to really get involved in nature, be outside of class, away from their electronics … and be learning about the cool habitats, animals and wildlife.”

The ornithology program teaches students how to care for birds and follow proper protocols for running an aviary, including the careful selection of birds accommodating student schedules and holidays.

“We don’t keep animals who need continual monitoring, so we select animals that we know we can provide appropriate care with our students, given their schedule.”

Farmington High Aviary 2

The bird’s situation and former home were also considerations in the selection process.

Some of the aviary birds have lost the ability to fly because of an injury or hunt in the wild because they were raised in captivity to promote their species. 

 “None of these birds could survive in the wild because they are primarily from a rescue situation where they weren’t properly cared for … and we give them an amazing facility with live plants, fresh food and good light,” said Blundell.

The birds are monitored every day at school and have clean water and fresh food. During the summer program, advanced ornithology students take care of the animals while receiving training from the previous class.

A fourth exhibit remains open for another bird as funding becomes available.

Farmington High 12th-grader Judith is currently taking advanced ornithology and helps with the canaries in the aviary.

“Birds are unique because they all have their own personalities and it’s fun to see their differences,” Judith said. “It’s important for Farmington to have this aviary because it shows our diversity and what we are capable of doing by taking care of animals and giving them a better environment.”