Listen to a short podcast of bird sounds at Guan Yuan Shi Chang Animal Market. It is a Chinese cultural tradition to keep caged songbirds to provide the sounds of nature within the city.
There are over a 1,000 species of bird in China and over a hundred are bred for display in cages.Parrots were first raised as pets in the Zhou Dynasty (11-256BCE), and since those times homing pigeons (used for delivering messages over the vast Empire), orioles and song thrushes were popular birds. It was during the (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) Dynasties that bird-rearing and bird markets became widespread.
Birds in China are appreciated for the following features: acrobatics (pigeon, siskin), appearance (oriole, chaffinch), chirping (thrush, lavrock), fighting (quail, magpie robin) and mimicry (parrot, mynah).