Employees of Huguley Memorial Medical Center contributed more than $8,000 to purchase and stock a bird aviary in the hospital’s main lobby to provide a positive focal point for Huguley patients, visitors and employees. The vibrant colors, melodic chirping, and movement of the birds represent the diversity and vitality of life. And with the likelihood of birds breeding, visitors will also get a reminder of the continuity of life.
“The addition of the aviary makes the lobby a destination, not just a waiting room or a walkway,” explains Laurie Evans, Huguley development and marketing specialist, who is the on-site caretaker of the birds. “The aviary helps reduce stress and encourages positive discussions among those watching the birds. It’s an enjoyable way to spend time, whether it’s one minute or ten.”
Wheelchairs and strollers alike are pushed up to the large plexiglass panels of the aviary. “Everyone loves it, from the youngest to the oldest, from our patients to our employees. It’s so peaceful and relaxing to watch and hear the birds. They are beautiful,” says Norma Jones, who staffs the admissions lobby desk.
Sixteen birds reside in the aviary, including several finch varieties, two diamond doves and a canary. The birds, which are native to Africa, Australia and China, were all born and raised in captivity. Disease has never been transmitted through these species of birds, and the controlled environment in which they spend their lives ensures the best health possible for the birds.
The large aviary, which measures 8’ x 4’ x 6.5’, is handcrafted from hardwood and equipped with internal, timed lights and an air filtration system. Nesting baskets are placed at the highest level, the birds’ perches at eye level, and food, water and an occasional bird bath is on the floor of the aviary.
In previous years, the employees have generously financed the bronze sculpture at the campus entrance, the player piano, and the one-mile Huguley walking trail, including its lights and workout stations. Additional money donated this year will be used to etch the hospital’s mission statement, “Furthering the healing ministry of Christ,” on the large glass window at the hospital entrance.