Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Birds of Gulangyu

A pelican "guarding" the bridge in the bird sanctuary
On Gulangyu there are some gardens and other sights that require paying 30 yuan admission fee and so we checked out one area that included a bird sanctuary. Strangely there were no rules posted at the entrance, and practically no staff around to watch for any mishaps, but the Chinese visitors didn't know how to react around the birds or that they should not touch them.

A cockatoo showing off his keyboard skills...
At the entrance there were some macaws, but they were chained to a bar they were standing on, and probably had their wings clipped as well. It was sad to see them stuck there, while a number of peacocks wandered around, strutting their stuff. There were the usual blue-green variety, and then a white one too that was an interesting sight.

Other birds were in an enclosed pond, like ducks and swans. A large white pelican that decided to hang out right on the bridge by the pond and so visitors were scared to walk over the bridge because it would attack the person with its big beak. Thankfully no one retaliated per se, but made for some spontaneous entertainment.

Two peacocks showing off their feathers
Then we checked out a bird show in another area of the sanctuary, and it was a very sad version of the kinds we've seen before in the west. The humans on the stage looked as if they really didn't want to be there, not smiling at all, and going through the motions, one routine after the other.

The birds -- mostly cockatoos displayed their talents in riding roller skates, riding a bicycle on a wire, collecting garbage, and playing a keyboard by walking up and down on the keys of an electric piano. Sadly these birds were also chained to their posts -- some even under lock and key!

People taking pics of the bird on a bicycle
Perhaps even more bizarre was that no one in the audience clapped either -- while they were busy filming the show and taking pictures, they didn't seem to think the birds deserved any applause! After the show we walked out of there, trying to digest what we had just seen...

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