Singing(?) The Blues in Bangkruay
Earlier this year on one of my cycling trips I’d noticed a bit off a road a field full of structures which looked like ‘lamp posts’, but actually are structures used for holding bird cages high up in the air.
I’d seen individual posts for this purpose in my neighborhood before, but never a whole field… As far as I know (which granted doesn’t mean that much) this particular hobby - keeping birds and having singing competitions - is very popular in the South, but in Nonthaburi???
I cycled back for a closer inspection, only a few bird cages were up in the air and talked a bit with the owners. They suggested me to come again on May 12 when they’d have their competition and that’s what I did yesterday!
I arrived around 7.30 AM and noticed immediately that the parking lot was almost full and heaps of bird cages in the air.
Almost immediately I committed a faux pas by walking on the main field with my camera and was reprimanded on the spot, only judges were allowed there!
Therefore I walked around the mainly male crowd and talked a bit, obviously this had been going on for a long time here, one owner had been participating for over 30 years! Keep in mind that this hobby can become quite an investment, as the better birds fetch high prices.
Talking about the birds, in the South the Red-Whiskered Bulbul is favorite, but here for whatever reason the ‘nok khao chawa’ (zebra dove) ruled. How the judges measured the quality/quantity of the zebra doves’ sounds was a complete mystery to me as I couldn’t hear much difference between the cooing or keep the birds apart…
Some of the cages were fancy as well and at one table handcrafted hooks were sold.
On the parking lot some entrepreneurs were selling cages, bird feed and assorted stuff.
All in all it was quite a spectacle with plenty of friendly owners.
Post Script: Culturally this was definitely interesting, but on a personal level, definitely not my sport, I don’t approve of keeping birds (and animals) in small cages at all. Instead I’m perfectly happy with our lazy cat!