Bird Street

Some feathered friends

If you’re in the market for a feathered friend, or simply want to take a colorful journey to a historic section of Taipei, consider visiting “Bird Street” in the Wanhua district, near the Longshan Temple. Just a few minutes’ walk from the Longshan Temple MRT station (turn left out of exit 3 and stay on Heping West Road). Within 10 minutes, you’ll hear the birdsong and see the many vendors. Smaller birds (parakeets, finches, sparrows) are typically displayed in traditional bamboo cages. The larger birds (parrots, lorikeets, conures, macaws, cockatiels, and cockatoos) are displayed on stands on the sidewalk, tethered so that they won’t take off (it’s also safer for passersby). If you’re taking children, please remind them not to reach out to touch the birds on stands; the “little” beaks and talons on hook bills are surprising sharp. Instead, ask the shop owner to hold a bird that’s safe to pet. It’s amazing watching and listening to them all.

If you want to purchase a winged companion, do your homework first so that you’ll know which type of bird to look for. Some are known for being noisy, others are relatively quiet. Some can be taught to talk and do tricks, others are more decorative. Remember, parrots have long (up to 35 years) lifespans and get very attached to their owners. Prices vary widely – from several hundred NT for a tiny finch to tens of thousands for a macaw – so take your time and comparison shop. The shop owners I spoke with were very knowledgeable about their offerings, can answer many of your questions, and were very willing to make recommendations based on what you’re looking for. Happy bird watching!

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…

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