I wanted to visit Birdland for a while but constant rain on Saturdays mixed with a busy schedule meant the occasion only arose yesterday. On a crisp Autumn day, the drive from Witney to Bourton is always amazing: the succession of rolling slopes bordered by all shades of gold, rust and brown is a stress buster in itself, at least until you get stuck behind a tractor.
Birdland opens at 10 every day and I was the first and only person there at that time, meaning the park and its birds were all mine. The first thing I noticed was the chirping, singing, and quacking of the birds which I could roughly divide it between familiar sounds (ducks) and unfamiliar ones (everything else).
Birdland is a fair size garden that merges with a natural reserve so it is possible to spend half a day there if you are a bird enthusiast. It is also very kids friendly with fun learning activities and a playing area near the café. The range of birds they keep is extensive, with birds coming from all over the world. I was especially pleased to have seen pelicans, which I had never seen before.
The big birds such as ostriches, cranes, storks and penguins were all impressive to watch and the cranes gave me a private show when they got angry about smaller white birds invading their territory and chased after them. I also saw several fights, reminding me that beyond their colourful feathers, these are wild animals.
If I had been organised, I would have taken a picture of the ID cards of the bird that are clearly displayed in front of each cage and area, but I am not so I have forgotten the names of all the birds I saw. Having said this, it does not matter since walking around and watching is enough in itself to provide a good experience and a very pleasant outing.
Birdland is a welcoming place that offers a variety of experiences, from handling birds to lectures around them, a learning area or simply a walk round the park. The mixture of quietness, exotic sounds and varied bids meant I had a very pleasant time before starting a new busy week and that’s a luxury. When I left, families were starting to arrive, making the park less wild, more zoo-like and I was pleased to have had it just for me for that time. The early bird catches the worm, doesn’t it?