November 25th, 2005

Come drink with me


It was almost as if Yingshiong could read my mind and knew that
I was going to cut into his diet to lower his weight. Which by the way,
will likely to be temporary and his weight will be allowed to rise later

He was singing so nicely in the morning when I was having my breakfast in
the living room. He was on the cage door perch watching me watching him through the glass door. Then when I got into the flight room, he stopped singing and did not greet me at all.

I did my usual stuff of checking and removing fresh whiteys while being watched by him in silence.

The MM was weighed to be 38.2 gm with no changes from evening before.

He was reluctant to fly onto the weighing scale. Eventually, he got on and was found to be 34.2 gm. He then flew back to his door perch and ignored me. I hold up a whitey for him. He took some time to fly over and turned right back when I hold up a finger for him to step on.

Even when he got the witey, instead of flying back to his cage and stone table like before, he was holding it in his mouth, and made little attempt to eat that. Only when I left the room, did he ate the whitey and started to sing. Only to stop singing when I went in with him.

I tried touch target exercise with suris. He made determined attempts to by pass the target stick to get at the suri. I was hoping that would get easier, but it got even more tough. Still, he did touch target. The first time he did that, it was with vengence with him making a forceful peck at the bead.

At the end of it, he did touch target a few more times. I refrained from the clicker, holding up instead the suri in clear sight of him, but tt wasn't easy at all.

Still , at about lunch, YS was 35.3 gm.

No change in the MM weight.

I then thought I leave the apartment.

Since his weight was rather high, I decided to leave his MM and not replace that with new MM.

I got back about 5 pm.

He was singing, but he stopped when I joined him.

I checked the MM to be 38.1 gm and saw physical signs that he ate some of it.

I wanted to encourage him to use the perch near me. So a couple of days before, I topped one of the bowls there with water. Then yesterday, I emptied the water in the water bowl in the cage so he should drink only from the water bowl near me.

I waved a whitey over the scale to persuade him to be weighed. In the past, he so naturally hop onto the scale for me. Only after two whiteys, did I get a firm reading of YS weight to be 34.5 gm . That implied his weight was 34.3 gm prior to the 2 whiteys.

But what he did after that shocked me.

He flew back to his cage. He then went to his water bowl and dipped his head inside as if he was drinking. That was even followed by his throat moving as if he was drinking. He then jumped on the bowl edge to drink even more.

I even thought that perhaps I did not empty that bowl of water as I thought I did yesterday. I went to the cage and checked that the bowl was indeed bone dry.

He knew very well the bowl next to me had full water. Just to be safe, I hold that bowl of water near him to show him the water before replacing it back at the perch stand.

Instead, YS went to the empty water bowl in his cage to go through the motions of drinking yet again. It was such a test of will.

I agonised should I refill that bowl. I so wish I know what is right and what is wrong.

I decided to grit my teeth for the time being. I removed that empty water bowl from his cage. If he wanted to drink, he should drink from the bowl just next to where I was sitting. So if any of you think shama is a song bird and do not interact with the caregiver, do think again. YS appeared to be so aware of all that's going on and interacted with me in ways that I found so incredible.

I then left for my dinner appointment with my wife and son. And again, when I left the flight room, he sang again. So at least in that sense, I was assured of his continued well being despite the reduction in his weight. He would not have continued to sing otherwise. I hoped he would resume his chatting and singing to me though instead of giving me his silent treatment.

We will see what the next day will bring.


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

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