Every Friday morning a Bird Auction at Souq Waqif in Qatar, downtown Doha is taking place. This auction is even happening during the summer months, when the temperature is climbing up to 50 degrees Celcius at noon time. There seems to be too many bird lovers to cancel the event when most people prefer to stay at their air-conditioned homes.
Delivery of the birds
The first activities what can be observed around 5:30 when that dealer, farmers and bird breeders are delivering their birds to the Souq. While a part of the birds are offered in the auction, others can be bought directly at the market.
Slowly the place is filling up with interested people, traders and photographers. All people starting to gather around the birds. The sellers who want to sell and the bird lovers who want to buy. On top of this, photographers sneaking around who are searching for opportunities to capture the photo of the day. Sometimes some tourists can be found who might had a bad sleep and decided to go to the Souq instead of moving sleepless in the bed. The diversity of the audience is similar to the diversity of the birds offers. From pigeons, budgerigar over parrots and many other smaller birds are offered. Sometimes I saw even other animals in between all the birds who changed the owner over the auction table.
Friday Morning Bird Auction at Souq Waqif in Doha
Than all of a sudden the auction starts. The auctioneer, still looking a little bit tired, starts asking for the best amount with always reccuring requests to raise the bids. The monotony of his voice together with the excessive electronic echo of the sound system reminds almost of a prayer. - Especially, since I don't speak the Arabic language.
Once a deal has been made, birds and money getting exchanged and the new owner leaves the spot or tries to get more bargains. Besides the auction there is always a lot of activities by dealers, customers and bird experts.
One unique observation I made today, was a proud boy with his baby falcon.
After about 2 hours, when the last bird cage left the auction table, the event finishes. The dealers continue selling birds and eggs until 10:00 before everybody starts preparing for the Friday prayer.
Gear used: Leica ME with Leica Summicron 2.0/50