Saturday, 25 September 2010

Photoblog Hong Kong: Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

China is a strange place. All these delicate and fragile birds, locked inside their bamboo cages. Inside each cage is fastened a tiny blue and white ceramic pot for water; a tiny dish for food, and a little swinging perch. The birds are given everything they need, except their freedom to fly.

Don't look for metaphors. The men take the birds to the parks, hang the cages in the trees, then sit below them, gambling, while the birds hop and peck in their swaying prisons above their heads. I guess that birds serve the same function as allotments and sheds in England. Men time. Excuse time. I need to take the bird to see the tree time. Back in four hours time.

Something else, too. I can see the birds are needed, truly. More than human. Maybe they are wisdoms, poetries, inquiries into souls. I watched an old man with his eyes fastened on the little bird in the cage. He watched it hop, change direction, incline a head, peck, drink, dash out a wing, balance on a swinging perch. I watched the old man watch the bird for twenty minutes. He never took his eyes away. And I wondered so much what the bird answered.


Rachel M. said...

Wow that's cool! I didn't know birds were so loved there!!

Before we had kids, we bought two finches who in turn had 3 babies. They had their own community in that cage and didn't care what was going on outside the cage until the cat came flying through the air and attached herself to the cage in a stunning moment of agility!

sharon said...

I hate to see birds in little cages. Much prefer to watch them flying free. We are in the process of planting shrubs all round the house for the little wrens to shelter in. They are endlessly fascinating to watch - and they eat the bloody insects!

Deb said...

Have to see a park about a bird?

Grit - email me your mailing address - I want to send some random crafty treats to the gritlets, if you don't mind.

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I don't know how I feel about these gardens. On one hand I am bothered by birds in trees in cages and on the other hand I am warmed by the relationship you described (old man.)

Strange world we live in!

We're returning to home education for 2 out of 3 of my kids next year. Roll on 2011!

Grit said...

hi rachel, i like the idea of the birds going about their business. makes me feel better!

dragonflies, sharon. they are excellent insect catchers. the air swirls with them here. otoh there seems to be a never ending insect supply.

hi deb, thank you! that's very kind of you; i shall email a post address!

hi lisa, have all my good wishes for a good home ed experience. in all its frustrations and madnesses, it's still a great thing to do, right?!

Oum Anas said...

It's just as common in England.

Google bird show (eg. Stafford ~).

Every town or county has a cage bird society.

Oum Anas said...

Oh, and many birds wouldn't survive in the wild, certainly not canaries (and there aren't any canaries in the wild today).

Grit said...

hi Oum Anas. those are good points. i am not really a fan of small caged birds, but i can see they are something greater than I'm aware of, when i watch the reactions of other people to them. what is it that the old man found? i don't know. any bird devotee is welcomed to tell me and let me in on this!