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Fly, Birdie, Fly!

Rhona Lewis

Birds of Eden is a bird sanctuary near Plettenberg Bay on the east coast of South Africa. That means it’s a protected area where animals or birds can live safely. This is especially important because in today’s world, many birds are endangered, which means that if we don’t give them a safe place to live, they could become extinct. In fact, today there are about 10,000 species of birds, and 400 species of birds are endangered. In the last hundred years, 103 types of bird have become extinct

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

At Birds of Eden, visitors can walk around freely and enjoy the colorful and exotic sights of over 3,000 different birds from 280 species.

The sanctuary is enclosed with mesh roofing, turning it into the world’s largest free-flight aviary. It covers over two hectares of partly forested land, which includes a deep gorge with a waterfall — plenty of flying space for the birds. The sanctuary is criss-crossed by a 1.2 km walkway, which even goes behind the waterfall.

There’s no need to mind your head, though, because part of the sanctuary is indigenous (natural) Afromontane forest. This type of forest has trees that grow up to 40 meters high! These giants are called emergent trees because they tower above the rest of the forest trees, spreading out their branches as much as 30 meters wide. Examples of these trees are Yellowwood and Ironwood Olive, which is such a strong wood that it was once used for the railroad ties that are the base for laying railway tracks. Below these are the canopy trees, such as witch hazel, which stretch out like huge umbrellas. The ground is covered with shrubs and ferns.

 

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