Oxton flamingos in the pink following SOSE grant

A unique visitor centre at Oxton with a mission to protect endangered bird species can stretch its wings thanks to a £25,000 boost from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 5th February 2021, 2:25 pm
Owen Joiner of Birds Gardens Scotland with some of the flamingos at the centre.
Owen Joiner of Birds Gardens Scotland with some of the flamingos at the centre.

Community interest company Birds Gardens Scotland, based at Oxton, which also facilitates captive breeding rearing and propagation programmes, includes a visitor centre and outdoor classroom and education area (including sensory garden), coffee shop and playground

Owen Joiner, director and expert bird breeder, says he hopes to open the centre to the public this Easter or as soon as it is safe to do so.

He said: “This amazing award from SOSE will specifically fund a boardwalk in the outdoor area.

"This will sit between two ponds – a lily and fishpond – which sees kingfishers coming from the river to spy on the fish, and a small loch, which is home to many species of duck and goose, whose existence is under threat in the wild.

“The boardwalk will enable visitors to come hand-to-beak with inspiring birds such as flamingos, creating life experiences. This structure makes it safe for visitors to enjoy this area of the grounds and it will allow us to convey key conservation messages in a fun, recreational and informative greenspace.

“The boardwalk is not a stand-alone project, as from here, an outdoor learning space/classroom will project over the main pond.

"This outdoor classroom will be invaluable for the coming years in the shadow of Covid19.

“This really is a major piece of superstructure we need, and it allows for so much more to be developed thanks to its presence. “

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, said: “Bird Gardens Scotland is an exciting conservation and breeding project, and I am delighted we have been able to help support it.

“The facility will create a ’community hub’, and the outdoor classroom and education area will provide a recreational greenspace for visitors to learn more about endangered birds.

“It has fantastic potential to bring real benefits to the region, and as we look ahead to the recovery from this pandemic, we have a clear vision to attract more visitors than ever to the South of Scotland, in order to support our economy, support local accommodation providers and eateries for example, when it is safe to do so.”