China Birds

One of my walking friends is Chinese. She travels a lot and hikes almost every week. She asked me if I knew what kind of birds were kept as pets in China. She often reads about gentlemen taking their caged bird along to the tea house where they would spend the day, reading, talking, and drinking tea. I realized I know a good deal about birds in Africa, South America, Australia, North America, India, and some parts of Asia. But almost nothing about birds in China.

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There aren’t many books available on the subject in English. Almost no web pages, and again those have the most interesting information in Chinese. But there is a web page with the most information available in English and Chinese, which has this link to a list of bird species found near Beijing. https://birdingbeijing.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/a-checklist-of-birds-of-beijing-2014.pdf

It appears the Chinese have the usual sport birds, pheasants and ducks and geese, but I had to look to Wikipedia to find out what exactly a smew could be. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smew It’s is a delicate-billed diving duck of stunning beauty. Both males and females are beautiful, but they don’t look like they belong together. Storks, egrets, and herons populate the shores and lakes. Eagles, kites, and buzzards hunt in the open lands. Seven species of cranes spend at least some of the year in China.

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Cuckoos and owls are numerous, but who would take one of those in a cage to a tea house? Even a tiny brown bird called a Lapland Longspur would be unlikely in that role. Do the tea drinkers prefer canaries? Warblers? Just which bird is preferred? http://www.transitionsabroad.com/publications/magazine/0501/bird_walking_in_hong_kong_china.shtml

This great short clip shows many different types of birds in little bamboo cages. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUYjDXDzdEI And maybe that’s the answer. A wide selection of birds could be used. There are many warblers on the list, and even one canary bird. There is a myna, but I can’t imagine a myna being preferred for the noise it makes. Anyway, I love in the clip how the man reaches into the cage and feeds rice to the birds.

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At last, I managed to enter a correct phrase into Google and got Silvereyes – and this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvVLF88BXQM However, Uncle Wiki thinks the Silvereye can only be found in Australia and related land masses there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AT1SGbFlQDc I guess the internet isn’t always correct. Of course, if you have a slightly different name for the species, then it works out. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_white-eye

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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