Do you want hear the birds singing in the quiet hours of dawn?
It welcomes you with a din that lies somewhere between the boisterous chirp of swarming crickets and the rousing finale of an orchestra in concert.
Step closer and you realise it is a choir formed by hundreds of birds in cages lined up, rows and rows on end, pitting song against song.
This, say bird lovers, is one of the most famous bird singing corners in Singapore. The bird garden located at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 is perpetually filled with a crowd of almost exclusively bird owners parading their birds. Some of the men who come to listen to them are retired, the oldest are in their late 80s.
For years, the nearby residents have been awakened between five and six every morning. It could be their favorite time of the day. The song of the birds. Do you want to hear birds singing? It is here and it is free. It is inexhaustible. It is perfect bliss. So, rise early and to be awakened with the birds who from their branches and nests declare in perfect song the dawn of a new day.
We seem not to be able to grasp the significance of places that are of popular significance in Singapore - places that ordinary people have grown accustomed to having around and which connect them to a sense of home.
宏茂桥邻里有一个很多爱鸟之人出现的地方. 爱鸟之人几乎天天拎着他们鸟笼到这里聚首, 把鸟笼吊在挂钩后. 每天早上, 凡是路过宏茂桥镇西公园附近空地的人, 抬头可以看见一个个高挂起的鸟笼, 在清脆的鸟语声中迎接美好的一天. 爱鸟之人喜欢在鸟鸣声中聊天, 聊着和分享养鸟的专业知识, 论鸟儿的鸣声等等, 就这样度过一个悠闲的早晨. 鸟笼外的人也从笼中小鸟歌唱找到志同道合的乐趣.
Walking a pet dog is a normal scene anywhere in the world but when was the last time you took a pet bird for a stroll? In Singapore, some men are famous for walking their pet birds in the early morning. Men, both young and old (but mostly old) walk while gently swinging the birdcages, which are covered with white or black cloth.
After arriving at a park or a pretty street garden, they stop to uncover the cloth and hang up their various ornate bamboo birdcages to the lower branches of a tree.
The hobby of walking pet birds has been popular in Singapore since decades ago and this old tradition continues with many people still taking pleasure from this simple outdoor activity. This simple pastime brings fun to people living in an age full of competition and pressure. Some bird lovers started raising pet birds since young.
Bird lovers believe that birds should not be cooped up indoors. If the owner won't take their caged companions out for a stroll, the bird will become lonely and depressed, which will reduce their will to sing. Taking a bird for a walk is the best way to keep it healthy and vigorous.
When the bird owners slightly swing the bird cages on the way to and from parks, the bird has to grip the perch tighter, then its feathers get tighter and smoother. If you don't allow it to have such exercise, its feathers are easily shed.
The bird lovers also come from all over the island. Some bird owners there every morning to give 'training' to their birds. The trick is to introduce just enough competition to get the bird to sing. They put the bird (among other birds) so that it has some pressure, then half an hour later, they take it out. Apparently all the good birds can be found at this bird park. The good cages refer to particularly intricate wooden number with an ivory finish.
The easiest way for a bird to learn how to tweet beautifully is to listen to the pleasant chirps of other birds. A smart songbird breeder will always place his bird next to a bird of the same species in an effort to compare voices.
The daily / weekly outing is also a good workout for the bird keepers themselves and offers them a chance to get to know people with the same interests.
Bird lovers rendezvous daily at certain places with a lot of trees to provide their winged pets with a more natural environment and also give their bird the opportunity to show off their singing skills. Bird keepers will also compare their pets and exchange care tips.
Their birds hop and chirp inside their cages. Sitting below, their owners spark up conversation with friends. This is a typical scene in Ang Mo Kio Bird Garden. They can breathe the crisp air in the early morning while listening to the pleasant chirping of various birds, all making them feel the embrace of the nature.
However in recent years, as more songbird species have been included in the national protection list, and as environmental concerns rise, some urban residents are putting away their cages and observing wild birds in natural settings. Birds are unlike other pets, such as dogs or cats. They love to fly freely in the air instead of confined in a small wooden cage.
Hence, i suggest some bird lovers can go to the suburb areas to observe wild birds and enjoy their beautiful songs. It's delighting to see more people start to value the relationship between human and birds and no longer simply take birds as only a pet to entertain themselves.
Today, no matter how demanding the day becomes, when one have paused in the early hours of dawn just to listen to birds sing, the person will find their song is their Source.
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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