The Temporary Aviary
The Frame
Ventilation Panels
Mounting Perches
Finishing Touches



Mounting the Perches

Perch Installation


The original new aviary design had called for removable panels to be mounted to the back wall. Perches would be screwed to these panels. They could be removed by removing the panels. When we changed the design of the aviary to include permanent walls, we had to find another way to mount the perches.

We could have just screwed the manzanita branches to the walls before attaching them to the aviary, but this was not an ideal arrangement. First, it would be harder to mount the walls with the perches attached. Second, we would never be able to add or remove perches. Third, screw-on perches can gradually become loose, allowing them to turn and fall into positions that might not be desirable (this applies mainly to branched perches, which ideally are arranged so that none of the branches are on top of the others). Without having access to the other side of the wall, we would never be able to tighten these perches.

After experimenting with various hardware configurations, we finally found one we thought would work. The following supplies are necessary (remember, click the image to enlarge it):

First you need a perch that attaches to the wall via an attached bolt. These perches should come with a washer (actually, two washers, but we only need one of them) and a wing nut, shown in the above picture.
In addition to the hardware that comes with the perch, you need a toggle bolt and this neat tube-like piece of hardware that looks like a very long nut, I'll call it a coupling until I find out differently. It basically allows two bolts to be screwed together, one at each end. The toggle bolt will probably come with very long (4") bolts. We replaced these bolts with smaller bolts - just longer than the length of one side of the hinge.

the following procedure was followed to attach the perches to the aviary walls. I've included pictures of each step. These pictures were taken using a small trial piece of wood so that you will be able to see what is happening on the other side of the wall (something impossible to see when the perches are attached to the real aviary walls). Note that this piece of wood is quite damaged, as it was used in many experiments while we were trying to find the perfect setup. I apologize for the poor quality of these photos. My old point and shoot camera did not do very well with close-ups.


Step 1: Drill a 1/2" hole in the wall where you want to mount the perch.

(Note: the toggle bolt instructions should tell you the appropriate hole size for the size of the toggle bolt. You need to make sure the hole size is significantly smaller than the washer that came with the perch.)

Step 2: Grasp the end of the toggle bolt with a pair of pliers. Be certain you have a good grip, because if you drop the bolt, it will fall behind the wall and be lost. Begin inserting the toggle bolt into the hole in the wall. The hinged portion will begin to fold inward to allow the bolt to slip through the hole.
Continuing to insert the toggle bolt.
Step 3: When the hinge portion is all the way through the hole, pull back on the bolt as far as it will go, so the hinged portion of the toggle bolt is brushed against the wall.
What the hinged portion of the toggle bolt would look like on the other side of the wall.
Step 4: Place the washer that came with the perch on the toggle bolt and then attach the wing nut. Tighten the wing nut until the screw does not turn easily, but do not tighten all the way just yet.
When the wing nut is tightened, the toggle bolt hinge should end up lying snug and flat against the back side of the wall. If you could see it, it would look something like this.
Step 5: Screw the coupler onto the bolt on the perch.
Step 6: Position the perch such that the toggle bolt and the perch bolt are in line.
Step 7: Turn the coupler clockwise to attach it to the toggle bolt. Try to ensure the toggle bolt and the perch bolt meet at approximately the middle of the coupler. Turn the coupler and the perch until the fit between the perch and coupler is very tight. It is okay if the toggle bolt will still turn through the hole in the wall, but the toggle bolt, coupler, perch connection should be tightly joined.
Step 8: Turn the perch clockwise until it is positioned the way you like it (the whole arrangement should turn -- toggle bolt, coupler, and perch -- as one unit). If it will not turn, loosen the wing nut a little. Note that when you have it positioned the way you like it, the connection between the perch and the coupler should still be tight.
Step 9: Tighten the wing nut. This will prevent the rotation of the toggle bolt from moving, fixing the perch in the proper position.
The finished perch, mounted and tightened in this position. If the perch becomes loose, it can be tightened again easily by tightening the connection with the coupler and by tightening the wing nut. If you want to remove the perch for cleaning, it can be unscrewed at the coupler, cleaned and replaced. Or, a different perch can be attached to the toggle bolt if you want to change the look of the aviary.

On the whole, this method has worked pretty well. From time to time, a perch comes loose and needs tightening. Sometimes, after tightening, the perch no longer is positioned how I like it and I have to loosen the wing nut and readjust. It's not a perfect solution, but it works.

In addition to manzanita perches, we also installed a plastic clothesline swinging perch, bird sundecks for sleeping quarters, and a Sandy Perch to help keep nails trim. Because I don't like the tiny plastic perches that are included on most cuttlebone holders, I removed the perch and inserted a togglebolt where the perch would go. I then mounted the cuttlebone holder upside down at one of the regular perches.

Clothesline Perch
Clothesline Perch
Bird Sundeck
Bird Sundeck
Sandy Perch
Sandy Perch
Cuttlebone Holder
Cuttlebone holder

When all the perches were mounted, the aviary looked like this:

Aviary with Perches

Note that there are three lower perches positioned at a sloped angle leading up to the other branches. These are provided to help older, injured, molting, or other flight-challenged birds to get up into the upper branches. Also note that great lengths were taken to avoid positioning one perch on top of another. There is also enough space allotted between many of the perches to promote flying, rather than hopping. And the top 1.5 feet are left open for free flight.

UPDATE: The Sandy Perch was replaced with a fir perch similar to the manzanita perches because it became very difficult to keep clean, even after intense scrubbing, soaking, and washing in the dishwasher. I had hoped it would cause a reduction in the frequency of nail trimming, but I didn't really notice any difference.

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Manzanita Perches with attached bolt, wing nut, and washer


Toggle Bolt, replacing the 4" bolt with a smaller bolt. The toggle bolt should be the same diameter as the perch bolt.

Coupling to fit the perch and toggle bolts (Not sure if this is the right term, but this is what I'll call it until I find out differently).
Remember, click on any photo to enlarge!