November 9th, 2005

YS mash first day and photos of hovering flight

Andy added an interesting comment yesterday with a link to his french friend Laurent Schreyer who got his shama to free fly around his house. That link that he gave is interesting and you guys should take a look at that too. In time, I will go into to tell Laurent how much I enjoyed it and to discuss further with him on what he had done. I have absolutely no qualms at digging the brains and experience of others, or just to exchange pleasantries with them.

But you all do realise I wanted to do a lot more than just allowing YingShiong to fly about the apartment or in the neighbourhood. That is not too practical for me living in an apartment block even though I did that with Tinkerbell.

I do hope to be able to do with YS what I have done with Tinkerbell. That is to take YS out far away and to new environments, to the beach, to the park and elsewhere. Pity that there are no mountains in Singapore. Or I would have taken YS to the mountains too.

I have not asked Laurent yet, but I do think he might have got his shamas young, and the bonding when young will be that much easier. He also established a pair. That kind of bonding mutually help both to remain in house environment and nearby their nest. If you read of my account with the Vernal Hanging Parrot pair that I encountered in Luang Prabang earlier this year, the bond between the two parrots made the flighted VH parrot stayed with the clipped partner.

For what I want to do, YS must come on recall cues and stay on my shoulder. What I hope to do is very different, and maybe not possible at all.

I have a Taiwanese friend, Duff , who kept racing pigeons and who looked after Tinkerbell for me when I went off to Australia for a month vacation. Duffy raced pigeons who would return to his house from 400 km away. I was in awe what his pigeons could do. Then when I was at his house with Tinkerbell, at my "Tinkerbell, come here" , Tinkerbell flew to my hand. Then with a "shoulder", Tink then flew to my shoulder. Duffy was so shocked by that in turn. While he had no difficulties in getting his pigeons to fly 3-400 km back home to him and so familiar with racing pigeons, he never did conceived that a bird can be called to the hand .

This morning, I weighed the bowl to be 37.9 gm. With the YS mash, it was 39.2 gm. I added enough SinLin dry food to get to 40.0 gm. YS mash is actually quite dry itself and looked almost the consistency of SinLin and about the same color.

YS was waiting for me to settle myself. He then flew to the weighing scale to be weighed in at 35.7 gm , a weight I like to reduce to 34 grams.


He was rewarded with a white mealworm beetle. He looked at me expectantly and I could not resist giving him a white mealworm. I had to steel my heart and pretended not to see him looking at me and hopping around for more treats as I wanted him to go to the new diet. I drank my coffee and read my book, and after a while, he flew back to his cage. As if he was not satisfied, he flew out again to me and I raised my book to cover my face so as not to see him. That was painful to me, but that got to be done.

After a while, he flew to his cage and went to the bowl. He pecked at it, and then he started to eat the YS mash/mix.

He did not keel over and die. I was happy to see and tell you all that. He came out to me again and called. I could not stand it and like a coward, I left him in the flight room and went to watch TV but could still see him in his flight room. Now and then, he ate that mash and flew to his sleeping perch to look at me and called at me.

I had to leave the living room and hide myself in the PC room but his calls followed me.

An hour or so later, I went back. I had an excuse to fed him more. I wanted to shoot some hovering shots of him.


I normally would hold the beetle , worm or suri with my fingers. But I thought my fingers would block shots of him. In some sequences that I did not post, he could not be seen at all as my hand and fingers blocked him.

In the shots, I used the self retracting tweezer to hold up a suri. When you go and see the shots in the folder,

(use the slideshow and set time to 1.5 seconds)

you will see YS coming to get that suri, but the suri was hold too tightly. Or YS became paranoid of the camera and the red beam it emitted on him. You can see him hovering and moving back and back before breaking off and flying back to the cage door.

The first shot is on the specially wobbly perch I mentioned earlier. Then the next shot is on the weighing machine and the control weights I mentioned before.

I fixed the tweezer into a perch to take better sequential shots of YS. You can see a sequence of him snatching a mealworm. Then the other sequential shots, he got paranoid of camera and turned back.

I specially selected small to medium size suris for him, not the big fat suris to try to help to get his weight down. I weighed him again to be 35.8 gm

But it was tough.

He would fly from his cage directly towards me and turning off back to the table and call to me. I kept explaining to him that was for his own good.

I am not certain if he understood me. But today, at one time, he was making a repeated 4 tone sound. I told him that he could sing so much better than that. He looked at me and then sang much better.

I left the apartment for a long time today.

When I got back, gave him a few small suris, from my fingers. He never liked the tweezer and neither do I. Giving him by hand is a lot more intimate.

Nearing the end of the day, I weighed him to be 36.5 gms

I had weighed his bowl around lunch to be 39.4

The final weight of bowl was 39.0

As there was some water in the mash which might have continued to evaporate, how much he actually ate may not be known.

But looking at his weight gain, and my painful refusal to give him as much insects as before, he did eat the mash.

His shit was checked to be ok too.

I cleaned that bowl in readiness for tomorrow. He will be getting the pure YS mash.

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