I woke up and heard Yingshiong singing. I thought it must have been past 9 am until I turned my head to see thc clock telling me it was 830. That was another surprise for me. You read that I was trying to get YS weight down. With yesterday evening weight at 32.9 gm, I expected him to be about 31.4 gm today. Even so, he did not usually sing until about 9 am.
I got my breakfast with him singing away. I sat in the living room, had my breakfast watching the TV with him alternating between strong singing and medium singing between spells of chair chair chair as he called me to join him. I felt hypocritical that he was being so nice to me while I was plotting how to take his weight down lower. I had no basis for doing that other than data said the shama weight ranges from 28 to 32 gm and I was curious how he would be if his weight were taken down just that bit lower. I was not getting his weight down because I wanted him to be more 'obediant'. Relationships, healthy relationships must be based on a give and take basis.
And taking down to a very low weight just for training is not the basis for a good meaningful relationship. When we have the power over them, we need to take great care not to use those power. Just like you never will be friend with a 'boss', I take care to have rather the friendship of YS and not his answering to me because I am 'boss'.
I went inside. The MM was 38.2 gm or 0.3 gm drop from evening before. I threw that away and gave new MM to 38.6 gm
YS weight was 32.1 gm . It must be his eating of MM that got his weight up. I was hoping and had thought I managed to get YS weight down to 31.5 this morning. But I was still nicely surprised that he sang so strongly and that much early today. That indicated his 'happiness' despite his weight lower than before. Maybe before, YS was just a fat overweight shama.
I then did a bit of exercises again with him. I waited till he looked at me from his door perch. Holding the milli box, I did a recall that he immediately responded to to get his click and milli. Got him to step up on the stool and did a couple of easy touch target and a couple where he must fly to tt. He went into a flurry but did not touch. I had this feeling he was testing me. I shook my head and said no no, and then he flew up and kicked violently at the target. Bloody hell! YS had got a temper too. But he did tt and he got his click and treat of a nice cricket.
I ran out of suris in the holding box. I had to take process a couple of intermediate boxes from the smb2 to get more suris as well as millis. That became increasingly a more difficult task. I did not mind if YS swoop in on escapees. But he was doing his best to create escapees threatening and nearly upsetting the sorting box to scatter peatmoss and suris and millis. He dived into the smb2. After he flew out with big gravid suris, I had to keep that lid 3/4 on. And other measures too complex to describe here, together with very quick transfer of suris and millis to their holding boxes.
I then left him to check the pitta in the cage.
I saw his shit, kind of like shama, largely white from the urea with a bit of black in the center. I changed the paper yesterday so that shit was definately new. I had to assume he ate well as I never saw him eating.
I was in a catch 22. If I stayed and watch him eat eventually, I would be spending too much time with the pitta and I just did not want him to be familiar with me or with men. It was not like I did not want to see him eat. I just could not stay too long with him as I wanted him to be a wild bird and more appropriate to be back in the forest.
I emptied out the food and saw lots of mealworms beetles and a cricket.
The mealworms were under the YS mash before.
I placed in new YS mash for him. I decided the pitta will be released from his cage into the room, after due preparation.
YS then called me as if Ivan was getting to him. I rushed to him to hear him revert to singing sweetly at me. He must have seen the stockpile of suris and crickets and millis in their holding boxes.
I was always ready to obliged, even more so as YS appeared to be so ready.
His look at me was so intent. You knew my plans to get him deep into tt and then use the target later to induce a recall and then fade the target away into a true recall. That true recall to my finger was an important criteria for him to graduate from his flight room into the entire apartment. Without a strong pure recall, it would be lunacy to fly him in a big area. Crazy as I am, a lunatic I am not.
I knew I had a bad track record in trying new things with Yingshiong. You have read many times, it had been two steps forward and 3 steps back. Often, I had to backtrack and redo it with YS in small little steps. That was why yesterday I was giving you the procedure that I would do to get YS to do a pure recall.
But this morning, the way YS looked at me was so different.
I breath in deeply a few times to calm myself to make me feel detached with no anxiety, not caring if it worked or not work.
I hold out my left hand with index finger parallet to YS on his door perch and with me seated on my armchair.
I called "Yingshiong!" , and YS turned his head slightly to look straight at me. I then called "come here!" , and YS immediately took off to land on my finger. I could only smile a big smile at him and click the clicker.
I was so happy :-) Happier than I could have put into words for you.
That was a pure recall, no waving of millis or suris or crickets to get him to come to me.
He stayed on my finger while I tweezered out a nice suri for him. Then he flew back to perch.
I waited till he finished the suri and was looking at me. I then called "Yingshiong! come here" and he came immediately to get his c and t of 3 millis. And again and again and again!
That was not a fluke anymore.
I called him again to give him a nice cricket to end the session.
That was at about 1 pm.
His MM was 38.2 with him eating 0.4 gm. I topped that to 38.5 gm.
YS weight was 33.7 gm. What can I say. With him making me so happy, he got his suris and crickets and millis.
YS graduated to the apartment.
But the apartment and myself have not graduated yet. YS advanced faster than I thought. He did not stand on my shoulder as yet, but he would be on my forearm, hand and finger. Being on shoulder is something we could work a compromise on. The key issue is the recall, and he did that.
The apartment was not proof yet against him flying off. I needed to mesh the main door and other open areas. I needed to introduce perches in the apartment for him.
And I got a pitta to worry about until that pitta is introduced back into the forest.
I got an Ivan that I had to lock up or introduce slowly to YS.
But never mind! YS graduated to the apartment. Birdproofing the apartment would be done sometime next week.
After my lunch, I prepared the spare room for the pitta.
Bedsheets and towels were used to cover areas to be protected.
I got more bowls of water and the YS mash from this morning was transfered to another bigger and more stable bowl set on the ground. Pitta is a ground dweller and that was why I set the bowls on the ground on newspaper.
I then open the top of the cage. He flew up, did a couple of circuits of the room and settled on top of the curtain.
I closed the door to let him settle making sure it was locked against Ivan.
Went to wash my hands and arms to be with YS again. His recalls were solid.
Later on, I would introduce him to names of perches, and would try to get him to fly to named perches as I did with Tinkerbell.
At 6 pm, the MM was at 38.2 or a drop of 0.3 gm.
YS weight was at 33.6 gm.
After my cycle and swim at a pool nearby, I decided to get more food for pitta. I was getting worried that he did not eat even the zapped crickets I set out before him.
In addtion to the water bowl, I gave him a bigger tray meant for drinking water. WHen I checked YS before I went for my swim, I saw him just standing in that bigger tray, not bathing, but just standing there motionless. He remained in the tray until I got close enough to urge him out of that tray. Only then, he moved to a space between a chest of drawers and the wall.
So I bought another batch of live fishes. I know, I threw away a batch the other day since YS refused the fish. But I hope the fishes are close enough to earthworms to entice him to eat.
I also got a batch of small frogs.
I do so want the pitta to be happy and well and to be given his freedom this saturday.
The fish and froggies will be given to him tomorrow, after YS weighing.
Wish us all the luck you can spare.
I am so nervous for him now.
Note: Normal weight range of shama is 28 - 32 grams
from the information below .
If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust
or to WWF or other conservation bodies of your choice