• general

    The wild side of Hong Kong

    Hong Kong is a noisy metropolis, but bird song fills the air in the Yuen Po Bird Garden in the Mong Kok district. The garden features stalls selling songbirds, carved wooden cages, and bird food including lots of live creepy crawlies. In American and European pet stores, birds are also commonly for sale, but they tend to be brightly coloured parakeets, budgies, or parrots. At Yuen Po, most of the birds were sandy brown or black and white. They were not being sold for their feathers as much as for their songs. The bird species were almost all local to Hong Kong, like the oriental magpie-robin and red-whiskered bulbul. They were the…

  • academia,  general

    The gifts of 2015

    It’s the end of the year and time for reflections over this blog and my research year. Since it is Christmas time and I can’t count how many times I’ve heard various versions of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, I let the song inspire this wrap-up. On the 1st day of Christmas my research gave to me: A starling in a blooming tree In June I posted about Rachel Carson’s essay “How About Citizenship Papers for the Starling?” which postulated that the European starling is a fully integrated American bird. The starling is a great case for thinking about belonging rather than native/non-native labels as a key element of human/non-human relations.…