SINOPHILE
Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

Tethered pet bird

The keeping of pet birds is a long-held Chinese tradition and is a very common practice amongst Beijing men. They go everywhere with their owners but in some instances, don’t live in cages but tethered to a perch or stick. The health and appearance of your bird is as much a status symbol as a companion. Everyday the men congregate together, usually in parks and gardens and often near pet and bird markets to socialise and show off. 

The birds wear a light string harness permanently and when they go out for the day with their owner, they are taken out of their cage and attached to a tether line. Don’t be alarmed by the very light wire (fishing) trace which is used because it is quick-release, sturdy yet very light weight. They are able to fly. They are able to come into contact with other birds. They can take food from passersby or catch an insect buzzing by. Although not acceptable to many, if I was a bird which was going to be captive, this would certainly be a good way to do it. 

I regularly visited the pet markets at GuanYuan and spent time photographing the myriad of bird species displayed in this way by the locals outside (these were not birds for sale). This particular market has now been downsized if not totally closed probably for a multitude of other dubious practices, but caged and tethered pet birds can still be found in parks and gardens with their owners throughout most Chinese cities.

Former Guanyaun Pet Market
Beijing, China

See more images from China on my Flickr site HERE…..

Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

Tethered pet bird

The keeping of pet birds is a long-held Chinese tradition and is a very common practice amongst Beijing men. They go everywhere with their owners but in some instances, don’t live in cages but tethered to a perch or stick. The health and appearance of your bird is as much a status symbol as a companion. Everyday the men congregate together, usually in parks and gardens and often near pet and bird markets to socialise and show off.

The birds wear a light string harness permanently and when they go out for the day with their owner, they are taken out of their cage and attached to a tether line. Don’t be alarmed by the very light wire (fishing) trace which is used because it is quick-release, sturdy yet very light weight. They are able to fly. They are able to come into contact with other birds. They can take food from passersby or catch an insect buzzing by. Although not acceptable to many, if I was a bird which was going to be captive, this would certainly be a good way to do it.

I regularly visited the pet markets at GuanYuan and spent time photographing the myriad of bird species displayed in this way by the locals outside (these were not birds for sale). This particular market has now been downsized if not totally closed probably for a multitude of other dubious practices, but caged and tethered pet birds can still be found in parks and gardens with their owners throughout most Chinese cities.

Former Guanyaun Pet Market
Beijing, China

See more images from China on my Flickr site HERE…..

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