The spacious, high-ceilinged rooms on the second floor were used for ceremonial events. Sessions of the sejm and senate, royal audiences, and wedding receptions and balls were held in these grand rooms. Following a catastrophic fire in 1595, the east and north wings of the Renaissance residence built by the Jagiellons were renovated in the early Baroque style by architect Giovanni Trevano for King Sigismund III. Consequently, this part of the castle has Baroque furnishings.
It was presumably here that sessions of the royal council took place. The room owes its name to the subject of frieze, painted in the 1540s by Hans Dürer, brother of the famous Albrecht, and Anton Wiedt of Breslau. The 18th-century tiled stove comes from the palace at Wiśniowiec and was brought to Wawel Castle during its restoration in the early 1900s.
One of the two largest rooms in the palace. Sessions of the sejm were held here, and in the 16th century it was also used as a throne room, presence chamber, and court room. In the second half of the century, it also functioned as a ball room. Among others, the festivities that accompanied the coronation of Henri de Valois as king of Poland (later Henri III of France), and the wedding of Sigismund III were held here. It is also known as the Heads Hall, for the coffered ceiling is adorned with 30 sculpted heads (all that survive of the original 193) made in about 1540 by the Breslau masters Sebastian Tauerbach and Hans the Woodcarver. The frieze dates from the same period. Painted by Dionizy Stuba, it illustrates The History of Human Life according to a text ascribed to Cebes of Thebes.
In the 16th century the room functioned as a throne room and a presence chamber, to which the chair placed on the dais alludes. It was rebuilt after the fire of 1595, and from this period derive the majestic chimney piece with the coat of arms of Poland and the Vasa dynasty Sheaf being the work of Ambrogio Meazzi. We know that at this time, around the year 1600, the room was adorned with metal birds suspended from the ceiling, hence the present name. The birds on the frieze that runs round the room are also a reference to this fact. The original ceiling paintings by Tommaso Dolabella were destroyed in the fire of 1702; the present-day painting is the work of Felicjan Szczęsny Kowarski of 1929.
In the 16th century it was called the grand chamber (stuba magna), in which the royal courts presided. During the wedding of King Sigismund I and Bona Sforza it served as the royal state bedchamber. After 1595, it received a new ceiling with a magnificent carved Eagle, which was to be destroyed by fire in 1702. The present-day ceiling is supplemented by the painting of Leonard Pękalski from 1933–1934, depicting, among others, Józef Piłsudski commanding the Polish Legions.