Well ......I've gone and done it, I've lost my mind.  I've been considering buying a bird for us in China after reading about Lisa's bird. Well I bought it, not only did I buy one bird....oh no, I had to let my old impulse buying self take over and I bought 4! I thought oh well, birds have a high mortality rate (mine however will probably live forever)

Last week I went down to the bird and flower market with my 2 private students, I thought there would be all sorts of learning opportunities down there (and there was).  I checked out birds and fish while there and like Lisa, I was drawn to the peach faced love birds.  They were sold in pairs so I thought ok, two in the same cage no big deal.  I found a really cool cage I really liked.  It's big wooden affair with carving on the bottom and has porcelain cups for the food to go in.  Ok, I'll think about all this and go back next week. 

I thought about it and though yes we are going to get a couple of love birds.  Yesterday the same two students and I went back to the bird and flower market to buy the cool wooden cage and love birds.  We haggled a big without much success (sometimes that happens) and I bought birds, cage and bird food.  We were walking out with Charlie trying to take the cage for me so she could carry the birds and me telling her "NO Charlie NO".  We walked over to the plant section of the market to wait for Miki the Japanese teacher to make her purchases.  We were standing the center (ie big) isle where we proceeded to draw our usual large crowd. (Everyone wants to see what the westerner purchased, are those her daughters, how old are they, where is their father.....)  I was pretty much ignoring them, when one older gentleman told my students we had the wrong kind of cage for the birds we bought.  Now there is one thing all older gentlemen in China have in common and that's a love of birds.  You'll often see them taking their birds for walks, it cracks me up.  He then went on to say the love birds will chew through the cage in about 2 months.  "Oh great I thought I'll have love birds everywhere.  He also said we needed birds with a straight beak for a wooden cage.  Ok I thought I could get some finches instead of the love birds.  The lady I bought the cage and birds from was up to her eyeballs in customers after dealing with us so I went to the next lady who had the same things.  Impulsively I asked her how much a wire cage was and she told me (it was REALLY cheap) so I told her I wanted it and for her to put the love birds in it and I'd take 4 of the white finches.  She then told me the cage was to big for the finches. I thought she literally meant it was too big, but she meant there was too much space between the bars of the cage.  We tried putting one finch in and found if the bird really wanted to it could escape.  I thought if catching 2 big love birds that flew the coop was hard, it would be almost impossible to catch 4 little finches so I had her take it out.  She also had canaries for sale and I though Ok I'll take one of those, but she said canaries really like a small cage and she suggested these two little gray birds.  They look kind of like little tiny pigeons with a very sharp little beak.  Oh well I though they are probably the two most boring  birds she has, but I really like the cage so I bought them too.  She said they had a nice sound to them.  We left with ALL of our purchases and met up with Miki who was waiting at the front door with her FIVE plants (hmmmm lets see, fiiive plants, 4 little birds, 3 pounds of seed, 2 cages and a Julie with a Charlie....)  We loaded up the taxi and headed home.

I put the love birds in the window and the gray birds on a chair in the room, put paper in the cage bottoms, got them some food and water and proceeded to watch my daughters terrorize the birds.  They loved putting their fingers in the cages.  Hopefully the birds will get used to them soon.  I was sitting there when I heard the strangest sound.  The best way to describe it is a cross between a Madame Alexander Victoria doll's cry and a kitten (not a full grown cat) meowing.    It is the coolest sound and it was coming from our boring little gray birds.  The love birds were chattering away with a typical bird chirp, but our gray birds where singing a lovely song.

So to make a long story even longer.  I woke up this morning to find we still have four birds and my living room floor is covered with discarded bird seed. Right now the girls are sweeping (of course they are mostly just further spreading out the bird seed).  I'll bet my mother is just thrilled I'm getting my "bird phase" out while we're in China, so I don't have to have a bird while living with her!  But you know our birds are pretty cool.

Who knows I may even take our birds for a walk today!

*Author's note....(July 2002) couldn't take the bird's.  They all found new home's within the month.  But they were fun while they lasted.