The use of birds as pets has been a historical tradition in Mexico since prehispanic times. It has survived through bird traders, called pajareros, which is a local name given to the trade (derived from pájaro, the Spanish word for bird).
The Bird Trade is a proud family business, with each member having distinct roles. The roles involved in bird trading are capturing, acclimation, maintenance, and sale. Their assignment depends on gender, age and experience. Beyond their households, the pajareros are well organized in trade unions and are represented by a leader, who acts as an intermediate between them and the government officers who are involved in the authorization of federal permits. The pajareros use 96 species of birds, most of which are native to Mexico. Practicing the trade requires highly specific knowledge of the biology, ecology, habitat, nutrition, diseases, and behavior of the birds, as well as the climate and geography that best suits the birds.
Domesticating animals has distinguished the human species since ancient times. The pre-Hispanic civilizations of Mexico focused mostly on domesticating birds, both for food and religious purposes. There is sufficient evidence to confirm that at least 1,000 years ago, domesticated parakeets and macaws were already common members of many households.
Mexican pet birds are known for eating whatever they were fed, having bright colors, learning words and being good company. It was believed that parakeets were companions of the goddess, Citlallinicue, and of travelers. Songbirds, in general, were held in great esteem by pre-Hispanic peoples who felt their songs invited the rain. They also believed the songbirds personified princes and warriors who had died in combat and were brought back to life in beautiful colored birds that sang pleasantly.
Pre-Hispanic Mexicans believed the different sounds made by these birds were interpreted as omens of good or evil, so they were frequently used in the art of foretelling the future. If the songbirds warbled, it was cause for delight or rejoicing. But if they squawked or screeched, it was a sign that a death, illness or a serious problem was about to take place.
The Lupita Dolls celebrate the Bird as a household companion and the Pajareros that are part of many towns and cities.