birds, birdcages and proof that music was not “strictly for the birds”

Recently I came across an article that changed the way I understood and appreciated music, birds and their cages.  Now, I know this is a blog about interesting finds for interiors, so how does this apply?

Well, every now and then while antiquing, I’ve found amazing bird cages and have often thought how incredible it is that someone designed these marvels just for birds.  It’s hard to imagine a world without music and prior to the invention of the radio in the early 20th century, how would you get your fix of daily music?
 
I guess one way was to sing to yourself … but then that gets tiresome.  Another was to afford a string quartet to play for you … but then you had to be super rich.  So what did the rest of us do?  You bought a bird or a handful of them to lighten your day and placed them in cages fashioned as whimsical castles or palaces or even churches and cathedrals.
 
Apparently the bullfinch and the starling were amongst the favorite inhabitants of these cages as they learned to mimic popular tunes – and believe it or not, they even pass these learned tunes to their next generation!  Mozart had a starling that would sing back his works, and in more recent times, scholars have studied bullfinches in Germany to recover folk tunes lost to our own generation. Incredible!
 
One of my favorite restaurants in Mexico City is the old patrician Bellinghausen in the Zona Rosa.  Its patio has countless strategically placed cages with wonderful singing birds that entertain you while you eat.  And while I’ve always enjoyed their music, my recent finds will add another dimension to their enjoyment … and hopefully to yours too!
 
image credits: Marini Live Journal 
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PS: Thank you for stopping by and reading my feature today.  I love what I do as an interior designer and art advisor, and it’s my hope that through these blog posts I’m enriching and heightening your aesthetic sensibility towards art, design and fabulous interiors in some way ~ Richard Rabel (a.k.a. the modern sybarite)