My neighbour across the street where I lived, Abdul Aziz Hashim (Ajih Baroh) is a master in the building of bird cages. I have no idea where he got that skill from. However, his creativity and neatness in building the bird cage amazed me even until now. I believed he must have learned it from his father, Pakcik Latif. He has a younger brother, Zainuddin (Ajai).
All three of us will head to the jungle and look for the 'pokok bertam' (small palm trees) those that only grow in the jungle with torns all over it. We will also need 8 pillars made from bamboo (the bottom is left wider, to create the base). Small bamboos cut into 3 inch length are also required to create the space between the upper and lower space for both levels. Our bird cages are normally 2 storey with 3 compartments in each level. The top of which are made into traps (one on each side). The wall is normally made of small coconut sticks (lidi) pierced through the bertam pillars to cover the whole bird cage.
With a live bird in the lower level and with the traps on top, our bird cage are hung on a tree to trap other birds of the same species. We do catch a lot of birds. Those consumable birds (there are poisonous ones too) caught are normally slaughtered, cooked and eaten. They are normally grilled over fire with some salts. One of those times; when small birds grilled over fire, sprinkled with salt; is regarded as one of the delicacy living in the village. These traps are used to catch birds that pry the rambutan plantation and those places over land. Birds that normally pry the padi fields are trapped and caught by a different method. That's another story!
2 weeks ago