I used to raise canaries and finches for years and years. I started out with a pair that I kept in the house. Since I was an avid antique lover, I wanted my birds to live in a beautiful AND antique cage. The first batch of babies hatched also hatched my life long love of birds and cages.
There is no denying it, having birds in a house is a messy business. They love to take baths in their water and splatter; they split open their bird seed and the shells land - well everyplace. But the songs and endless enjoyment you get out of them is worth the mess.
One season of babies, lead to bigger cages until eventually, Frank built me a beautiful aviary outside of our Nevada City house, off the patio. The wonderous sound of canaries singing and singing all day long was heavenly. Of course, I never stopped looking for antique bird cages until I had a sizable collection of all sizes. Unfortunately, when we sold our house in Nevada City to downsize, many went to other lovers of bird cages. And so did the birds. The special cages I kept for myself that I couldn't part with, eventually were lost in a fire of our new house in 2005.
I seem to be drawn to the wooden cages. I read and was told when we lived in Nevada City, these little wooden cages were used by the gold miners. They would purchase a canary and cage to take down into the mines to detect gas leaks. I love the size and the primitive and simple design of them.
Sometimes, you get surprised at what you find.
I had several of these brass Andrew Hendryx cages when I had my Nevada City Collection, the name would be embossed above the bird door and sometimes would even come with a fabulous and intricate bird cage hook. The company started in 1874 in Connecticut due to the popularity of birds as pets. There would be pet stores and these ornate and beautifully made cages would be used in stores and homes for all types of birds.
Yes, even the hangers and hooks of antique cages are a prized possession. They have a large spring and sometimes fancy hooks. I recall once at a sale, a modern cage, stand and hook were for sale, the cage was new but the stand and hook were old. I purchased it just for the stand and hook and gave the cage to the thrift store.
Speaking of doves, I recently purchased an antique wicker cage for birds. I believe they were to carry doves or pigeons in them. I knew what it was when I saw it, I was at a booth at the same Hazel Street Vintage and she had 5 of them, all different. People were swarming around them and it was the last one available. The handles were gone and closure not working. But I purchased it and love it. I believe doves or pigeons were carted to bird events in them. Pigeon raising was very popular always clear back into early European times. Not only were pigeons and doves raised to eat, but their droppings were used in gardens and fields for fertilizer. Some large estates had huge buildings called pigeonnier or dovecotes. Another story for another day.
Check those out on Pinterest or Google sometimes, fascinating.
Hope you enjoyed my antique collections of bird cages.