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Flock returns to Steckel Park

The Steckel Park Aviary, built in 1926, has been saved by the community.

The aviary, near Santa Paula, was deemed unsafe last year and dozens of birds were adopted or moved to the Camarillo Animal Shelter in September.

Ventura County didn’t have the funding to make the repairs and threatened to close it down.

That’s when bird lovers and other volunteers stepped in. They raised $80,000 and material donations.

It took 4,440 man hours to renovate and refurbish every cage. It now meets Americans with Disabilities Act access requirements.

Ventura College students made a the new metal gate for caretakers.

On Wednesday, workers from Ventura County Animals Services returned 14 pigeons, 13 doves, 8 cockatiels, 7 parakeets, 2 geese and 2 peafowl to the aviary.

The peafowl is now sitting on her eggs in a large renovated cage.

The only sad bird appears to be a male cockatiel names Julie, his mate died of cancer at the shelter. Bird watchers say they are known to mate for life.

There is a small charge for entering the park but the aviary is open to the public for free.

Steckel Park Aviary donations are always welcome.

Donations may be sent in care of the Santa Paula Community Fund at 1354 Mariposa Drive, Santa Paula, Calif., 93060.

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