On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me...

A partridge in a pear tree

Our gifts for the 12 days of Christmas will mostly feature objects from inside Waddesdon Manor, but the first day we begin in the grounds, more specifically in the Aviary in which we find two different types of partridge. The female Crested Partridge, Rollulus rouloul, and the female Collared Partridge, Arborophila gingica (pictured) are both classified as ‘Near Threatened’. Our Aviary takes part in important conservation breeding projects of endangered species. Looking after these rare and magnificent birds does actually involve feeding them small pieces of pear.

In Baron Ferdinand’s day, the Aviary would have been a great attraction for his late-19th-century guests during tours of the gardens. Following a custom established by rulers and the nobility from the late 1600s, owning exotic birds and animals was a sign of power, wealth and knowledge. The cast iron structure of Waddesdon’s Aviary, erected in 1889 and now beautifully restored, is similar to trelliswork pavilions designed for the gardens of Versailles.


12 days of Christmas calendar