During the months of May, June, and July, you just might stumble upon a myriad of bird cages hung on long poles and surrounded by a throng of people gathered in one of the many clearings around the isle of Koh Samui. What you may not realise is exactly what all the commotion is about.
These are the traditional bird singing contests, and are a prestigious event on Koh Samui, as well as across the provinces of southern Thailand. Feathered divas fill the air with nature’s melody, while their captors listen for a prize performance. Some see the contest as a way of life, but others say it is bringing certain species to the brink of extinction. There are mixed emotions over the capture of these birds, however, you as a tourist watching this incredible show, in no way add to the demise of the freedom of these golden throat warblers. The contest is amongst the owners and their contending caged performers. People have been rearing birds and keeping them in cages for centuries, and in southern Thailand, the tradition of the bird-singing contest is a legacy of both the Islamic cultures to the south, and of the Chinese to the north.