The bird market or "bird garden" has been in existance since 1997 when the Urban Renewal Authority set aside 300 square metres for its development as a way of improving the environment in the crowded Mongkok district. Dozens of bird stalls are scattered throughout the garden sharing the space with landscaped sitting areas.
There are a number of nice examples of Chinese architecture throughout the garden with traditional gateways dividing the garden into sections.
The Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is open between 7am and 8pm daily. From a tourist perspective the best time to visit is mid afternoon when most of the elderly bird owners have their stalls set up.
When you love birds you love them seeing and hearing, and if you love them dearly you love to see them free in the crowns of trees or by the ground, or in the bushes or at the water edge or reeds... but in a city - what are the chances?
So, there are different dymensions of the bird 'market' and I believe it is one of the most impressive streets (in terms of activity, not architecture), and yeah I believe people here love their birds, but to see them they need to keep them in a cage. Local men come here with their birds in wooden cage to socialize with each other and to show the bird they take care of. Also - to make them sing and listen their songs. You can actually see this scene in many Chinese parks, but you have to be there early.
In this market you can as well buy cages, food and other things for caged birds.
For you, bird lover... you may love the bird market, or you may not. It depends 'how' you like to see birds.
The market is open from 7 am - 8 pm.
Bird Market is an ideal place to watch local people following their favourit hobby. In a lovely Chinese Garden there are many many stalls selling colorful birds or singing birgs, cages and just everything you can think of, what a bird needs. They sell all the different food, even live ants or worms. The air is full of the songs of the birds.
Nearby is the goldfish-market and the flower market. Both worth a visit.
The markets are open at least between 10am and 7pm
This is where you'll find people taking their pet birds for a "walk" in exquisitely crafted cages and letting them sing to each other. There is also a market here selling birds and bird related products. There is also a nice Flower Market nearby.
Flower Market Rd, Mongkok. Open: 7am-8pm.
Perhaps one of the most unique of our travels in Hong Kong was to Flower Street and next door, the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
A riot of colour and perfumed aromas from the stalls and small shops that sell fresh flowers and mainly to the hotels of Kowloon and Hong Kong, although the shop keepers will gladly sell to the general public too.
Also a riot of colour mixed with the ever-present sounds of birds. It is a place where the local song bird owners and their pet birds can be seen comparing notes. I was unable to identify the tiny birds that have a very sweet trilling song and their owners feed them a honey/water mix to make sure the throats are well lubricated. Also the birds are fed live grasshoppers, which can be purchased in large plastic bags.
There is almost every type of parrot on display for sale - including the magnificent Macaws, but what I really enjoyed watching was the stall where baby cockatiels are reared and fed. The babies were kept in a cardboard box and the elderly Chinese woman stall owner would put her hand into the box and there was a stampede of tiny feet towards that hand. Each bird seemed to be yelling out, "Me, me!!!!," as the woman would gently take a bird and give it a feed and then gently lower the bird into the 'fed' box and so the production line continued unto all birds had been fed.
Also available cages and all the bird paraphernalia you could ever need in a great setting.
Now, for some folks the very idea of bird-watching means strolling around the bird market in Mongkok. But if you're a nature lover and somewhat of a screwball like myself, you'll spend hours on end sitting in swamps, wetlands and parks gazing at birds. But for a good reason. There's a staggering total of 470 birds (56 in the city) flying free and wild in Hong Kong, making bird watching a very enjoyable hobby. Just bear in mind that the best time to bird over here is in the cooler months of Sep to May since the majority of the birds here are winter migrants from China.
So if you're keen to start, just do the following:
1)Buy a Field Guide
The most essential field guide over here is "Birds of Hong Kong and South China"
(Clive Viney, Karen Phillips and Lam Chiu Ying)
It's available at the government bookstore(Central), the Wetland Park(Tin Shui Wai) and other local bookstores.
If you're living overseas, you can order the book online :
2)Choose a birding site
They range from city parks to protected nature reserves in the New Territories. The best site are the Mai Po
Hong Kong’s Bird Garden is at once a disturbing and compelling place to visit. On the one hand, it is distressing seeing the large number of formerly wild birds caged and for sale. On the other hand, it is interesting to see the local men bring their caged birds to the garden for “air.” Similar to walking a dog, these men bring their caged birds to the garden, let them sing for a while, and then take them away and go about their business. As someone who prefers to see wild animals in the wild, the Bird Garden really wasn’t my thing. But, it does provide a genuine glimpse into a unique and traditional part of Chinese life. Open daily from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm, the Bird Garden can be found on Yuen Po Street at the end of Flower Garden Road.
This is an old men (mostly) gathering place for birds, songbirds, in particular. The birds are kept in traditional wooden cages with beautiful carvings.
The bird market inside the garden sells mainly songbirds, live crickets (delicious food for the birds), cages and accessories.
Visit early in the morning as it's a custom for the old men to carry the bird out for a morning walk.
This market sells hundreds if not more of different birds. They also sell elaborate bird cages, usually made of teak or bamboo. The Chinese have always cared and admired birds as pets. Many feel that they are a sign of good fortune. The birds are praised for their singing voices. Bird owners will usually give their birds honey nectar for their vocal chords.
The current Bird Street, in fact, is not the original one. The original one was the Hong Lok Street, a stinky and norrow street that has been pushed down for the massive Langham Place. All the occupants were moved to a new Chinese garden next to the flower market on Yuen Po Street. The garden, however, is no longer a pleasure to walk through as it used to be. The stinky smell is back--even after SARS in 2003--and it is definitely unpleasant.
I have seven gorgerous love birds at home and I make frequent visits to the park. Every visit I avoid going through the norrow passage with shops on both sides as the shopkeepers splash everything in the cage to the floor. So you can imagine what sort of odour you can get from sideproducts of dozens of pet birds.
Or maybe it's because I seldom visit the bird street before dawn. Those birds store close before six and they do their cleaning around five...So it might be a nicer walk if you visit it earlier--more shops, less smell. And maybe more people, as many local visits avoid the park after the avian flu outbreak, so the park gets quiet early.
In fact, I would still strongly recommend Bird Street here. It is a real paradise for local birds lovers and it's close to the dazzling flower market, as well as the busy aquarium-themed Bute Steet and Tung Choi Street. And it is just 10 minutes walk from Prince Edward Station--even if it unfortunately disappoints, it won't take you long to escape!
One last note: Don't miss the Flower Market Road. Most fresh cut flowers in Hong Kong come from here and every breath is a pleasure!
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