How many of us have fleetingly yearned to take wing and fly
like the birds? How many have dreamed of touring the
world from end to end like them on beating wing?
Was not this dream behind the airplane in which you
are sitting at this very moment? What inspired Hezarfen
Ahmed Celebi, who, leaping into the void one morning
in view of all Istanbul, flew from the Galata Tower
to Uskudar across the Bosphorus, thus going down in
history as the first person in the world to fly? Surely
it was the birds.
In a few hours your plane is going to land. But what
about the birds when they get tired of flapping their
wings? Are there no ‘ports’ where they
can take refuge? There are, right here in the city,
on every side. Near homes, mosques, inns, baths, everywhere.
What are these stopping off places, you ask. Bird
houses! Man’s humble offering to his winged,
feathered friends, and one of the oldest and most
important expressions of the love of and compassion
for animals that is gradually being lost today.
The history of houses built for birds like sparrows,
finches and swallows goes back a long way.