November 28th, 2005

Back to his sleeping perch, stepping up and the ecology of suri main box 1


I felt a great relief this evening when Yingshiong went back to his regular sleeping perch to sleep. His sleeping routine would start with the last light in the sky fading away. That was at 7.10 pm today. Before that, he would be on his door perch. Then he would fly about high in his room. That flight would alternate with some jazzy hovering, with hovering backwards and hovering sideways. Even his final landing on the rope perch would have him hovering before he settled in the middle. His loud cries of JEE JEE CHAIR CHAIR CHAIR would sound out to me. In the past, I remained seated on my sofa watching TV and called back to him. If I was in the PC room, I had to come out before he would stop his calling. Then I made a mistake in standing up and walking close to him on my side of the mesh to talk to him. Since then, he was not satisfied if I remained seated. He would continue to scream until I stood up close to him to tell him "good night", or "enought of that you stupid bird" or "$%^^$%$$^%^^*&#@". It did not matter but I had to stand up close to him.

I even forgo my intended cycling to a swimming pool to do my laps.

Because of last night.

We were having dinner at about 9 pm when my wife shrieked, "Yeeee! a SURI!!!".
Useless Ivan remained squatted on the floor when that suri came trundling along. I made a dive and got that escapee. Since the YS suri feeding box was in the flight room, I had to go in to keep that escapee. I slide open the door, went in and chucked that suri back in the small box for training treat the next day. I looked up and YS was still on that perch. As I moved away, I knocked the stool onto the fencing and YS screamed and flew to the high perch. I felt bloody clumsy and shitty at that and got out and closed the sliding door making apologies to YS. He was molified and eventually came back to his sleeping perch.

Then an hour later, I got something out of my backpack and mindlessly tossed that to the sofa chair next to the screen. It hit the chair with a sound and YS immediately flew off from that perch to the far high perch. He refused to get back to his sleeping perch last night.

So much so that I forgo my exercises this evening to see that YS got on back to his regular sleeping perch.

Fruitbatz wrote in Sat comment
"very nice.
You are the Bird Whisperer"

I decline that title. BirdWhisperer is still that Lin of Tsaoling.
In the present saga with YS, my progress has been one step forward and two steps to right and 3 steps to left and another step back like a drunk staggering about. The U turns I made, and the double U turns that I had to do are embarassing.

The real Birdwhisperer got his birds to shit outside and back into the house to play with him. I am still having to clean YS shit. On the day YS shit outside and get back in to play with me, I will then accept that I am the Bird Whisperer.

I should also mention when I wrote yesterday telling my wife she was not sincere in offering the whitey and that was why YS refused it, I also told my wife she was not sincere in wanting to go out with me and that was why it rained instead of the day being sunny.

This morning, the MM was the same as the evening before. I threw that away and measured fresh MM to 39.0 gm.

YS was 33.2 gm. It would be a real struggle for me to get him to about 32 gm early morning weight.

Shortly later, he was ready to go through the exercises. I decided to give in to his demand that suris would be the main currency of his bribery. I rather use a mix of whiteys and suris to conserve on the suris. I also had more whiteys than I could cope with. To allow the whiteys to become blackies and to breed more mealworms meant eventually I would have even more whiteys.

I used some whiteys to seed the other feeding boxes to let YS 'foraged' about. I also could not use too much for him to 'forage' or he would be too stuffed to be bribed.

Got him to fly to my finger by waving a suri on tweezer. Yes, I decided to use the self closing tweezer on the suris as you had seen from the photos instead of using my hands. The usage of detergent soap here went up trememndously since YS and suris came into my life. The expense of detergent soap would not drive me to the poor house. But as you had seen from the night before, I had enough with unwanted escapees.

Using the tweezer, I could stab the suri through the body first. When a suri is stabbed, I have less worries that it would be able to start unwanted families. Even though available information stated suris do not live in homes, you do understand my paranoia.

With the suri on tweezer, I could easily retrieve that to pay YS for being nice in his lesson instead of trying to catch one, or to hold on to one until YS need to be paid. I also need to wash my hands less often

When YS came onto my finger, I would not feed him immediately now. I dropped that suri from sight and talked to YS on the finger. I also watched him carefully and if he showed himself to be irritated from his body language at the delay, I then would give him the suri. At any rate, not longer than 10 seconds. That timing would be slowly increased. I did not want to push it when he was being so nice, not too fair to him.

Then we went on to touch target exercises. He would be on his cage door perch. TT became very easy now. YS knew.

So I placed the target to the left of him, for him to turn left to tt.

Then the target was just below him. Then the target was to the right of him.
So in that way, the last night returnee went along with the other suris in YS suri holding box to their glorious end.

I opened the suri main box 1 to scoop up another load of peatmoss in the suri intermediate box to pick out suris into the YS suri holding box.

I better explain the ecology of the suri main box. In addtion to suris, there were tiny weevil like beetles about the size of a rice grain. Those tiny beetles went through a larva stage before becoming a pupae and then the beetle. The larva are like mealworms but very much smaller, maybe 3-4 mm for the largest. YS loved those worms. Whenever I was sorting out suris and I saw those larva, I would hold one up and YS would fly over and hover to get that from my hands.

I read suris feed from vege stuff. So I used cabbage, boiled carrots, boild sweet potatoes to feed the suri. I also thought of using oatmeal and rolled wheat berries to feed them.

I think the tiny beetles loved the oatmeal and rolled wheat. The suri main box 1 had so many of those little worms. Or maybe I kept removing suris and only now and then use those tiny worms. Those worms were so small that it was difficult to hold them as they squirmed away very fast.

Otherwise those worms would be perfect as treats. They were so small that YS just gobbled them down and would not fill his stomach like suris.

But there were so many larva now in the suri main box 1. There were also lots of nice baby suris about the size of pin heads.

By the use of a fishnet, I sieved some larva (including tiny suris) and placed them in an open box. I clicked and gave that to YS. YS jumped to the edge of the box and pecked and ate and ate the worms. The tiny suris were too tiny for him to bother or noticed.

So the ecology of the suri main box 1 became more balanced now. That was another of the reason why I started suri main box 2 and just yesterday, suri main box 3 with pure suris.

At lunch, I did not bother to weigh the MM or YS. YS was so stuffed from the larva that I doubt he would fly to the scale.

So another bloody problem for me. Using YS to clean up on those larva would be easy. But he would be too satiated with food to bother with lessons. Do not use YS to clean up those larva and suri main box one might explode with tiny beetles and their larva.

I think I would cut back on usage of oatmeal/rolled wheat for the suris.

I also limited YS feeding time on those larva as a compromise to 30 minutes. Then an hour after that, did more lessons with YS.

I continued another lesson today. That was the 'step up'.

The crazy thing about it is 'step up' is almost the very first lesson with parrot. 'Step up' is so easy for a parrot and you can read that procedure in the Tinkerbell Legacy. Recall is comparatively more difficult than 'step up' for a parrot.

In the case of YS, it became the reverse. YS would fly readily to me if I wave that suri and stick my finger out for a perch. But since shamas are so flighted with incredible hovering skills, getting YS to step up had been so frustrating in the past. It was too easy for him to hover away.

I had been slowly nudging YS towards a good step up and everyday, getting my finger closer and closer to his chest as a precusor to step up.

At the beginning, YS would not even allow me within 7 feet of him before he flew away. Now my finger was almost at his breast, and of course, he would fly and land on me.

But I wanted him to step on my finger from a perch.

I moved my finger and touched his breast and lowered it to his feet for him to step up. He screamed at me and step back. That was wonderful! He screamed instead of fly off at my touch!

I gave him a suri for being so nice!

I waited a while and tried again. I moved my finger to him.

And he pecked at my finger!!

Yipee! I was absolutely delighted!

My little hero was now that courageous today as to peck at my finger. It was not a hard peck. How hard can a 33 gm bird peck at you?

But it was the mentality that I loved. He thought I was too pushy and he stood his ground against me.

I love it!

Not only I rewarded him with a suri. I gave him another 30 minutes at those larvas.

Later at 6 pm the weighing was done.

To my unsurprise, the MM was 38.6 gm

YS was 35.3 gm


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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