December 12th, 2005

Started to touch and feel Yingshiong


Got up not too early or too late. Poor Ivan had been deprived of the chance of waking me up for some time now. I took my coffee and breakfast to sit in front of the TV watching the news and watching Yingshiong now and then. YS was going through his routine of loud singing together with rapid tail display. I presume he heard other song birds and he needed to defend his territory.

I could not remember exactly what it was on the TV, but it was interesting for me to sit there and not make a move into YS flight room. I guessed YS finished with his songs and posturing and was getting fed up I did not go into the room yet. But I did greet him and wished him a good morning as I usually would do.

I recalled I gave/left him a fair bit of MM and he wasnt going to keel over and die from lack of breakfast. He then hopped on the stool next to the glass door and chair chair chair at me. Entirely out of perverseness and morbid curiosity on my part, I pretended to ignore him. He flew up to his sleeping perch and called. Then down to the perch below and called, then to the arm of the armchair and called.

I thought I better go in before he stood on his head or something silly to attract my attention.

He knew the routine. I set out the journal and pen. I removed the weighing scale cover. I took out his MM bowl and weighed it at 38.1 gm, or 0.5 gm less.

With clicker in left hand, I pointed to the scale with right hand for YS to fly over too from his door perch. He got a click and milli and nice words from me. He was at 32.4 gm.

I then threw away the MM and gave him 44.3 gm.

I did not flip out. I deliberately gave him a lot more of MM. Joy and I will be going for a short holiday to Kuantan with my friend CM for 4-5 days after Christmas. The North East monsoon strong winds and waves at that time made it ideal for suicidal deranged guys to ride the winds and waves of East coast of Malaysia. I being less suicidal might stay on the beach with a beer and book. But I am known to change my mind and get suicidal as well.

Thus YS would be left at home with lots of food and water. Ivan would be going to my mom in law. I guess 4-5 days should be ok for YS. So that was why I loaded his bowl to test how much I should leave for him. I then would double that to be safe. You have seen from the photos I have enough bowls here for a platoon of shamas.

I was tempted to let YS into the apartment. But I had not even gotten the mesh to make the apartment safe. I thought if I closed the main door and some other doors and windows, that would be safe enough. I so badly wanted to see him fly in a much larger area.

I had to resist that until I could make the perimeter of my apartment absolutely safe against unscheduled escape. I wrote enough of that in the Tinkerbell Legacy in this livejournal around Feb this year.

I know I lack intelligence. But my vaunted hindsight gained very painfully with Tinkerbell might as well be applied here as a kind of hijacked foresight.

You cannot plan for the perfect conditions when you are alert and double checked everything. I can assure you that Murphy is always around. It will be far better to plan for the worse and expect the unexpected. That meant bird proofing the apartment perimeter first before YS is allowed into the apartment. So if that day arrive when I am still in a catatonic state of shock, and even worse, without my realisation, such as if the coffee I drunk had not kick into my neurons yet, anything stupid that I done would be protected by my precautions taken out first.

So if I closed the door and do adhoc safety perimeter security, and let YS into the apartment, that might work the first time. But the momenet YS knew the apartment is so delightful with a much bigger space, YS would try to sneak out of this flight room every time I enter or leave the flight room. To depend on my ensuring temporary apartment perimeter security each time just would not be realistic. I therefore MUST make the apartment totally secure before even letting YS into the apartment.

I also have to come to grips as to what to do with Ivan. I will find it difficult to lock up Ivan every time YS is in the apartment. That will not be fair to Ivan at all. I know I can get Ivan not to touch YS. I suspect Ivan already knew YS is family and will not attack YS.

But I do have my experience with Tinkerbell and Halftail the Bimbo my cat in Taiwan. Tink bullied HT and terrorised the poor cat all the time. Thought it was amusing at first, later on, that terrified me. Tinkerbell lost all fear of cat thinking cats are like HT. Tink would not know the real deadly threats of cats. So if YS got used to Ivan, YS might think all cats are like Ivan. Than will be very deadly to YS should I ever get to take YS out into the open.

I need to brood over that. But I will happily listen to you all if you got the answer for me.

I added a new approach today with YS. I would go through the exercises like what I listed before. In addition, I started to try to stroke his body. To let YS get used to my fingers on his body. The last few days, I was stroking him on his feet when we did the step ups. He got used to that. So when I stroked his feet, another finger 'accidently' touched his wings very lightly. He would allow me to barely touch his wings now.

This would proceed on to head rubs. The problem is that shama are solitary birds. Parrot are flock creatures and would do lot of grooming with each other. Getting headrubs and touching body of parrot is so easy.

If I am going to use the harness on YS, it is imperative that I could touch him on head, on wings and under the wings. If the bird do not allow you to lay hands on him/her , you will never be able to get a harness on the bird without the bird fighting you and hating the harness.


So I thought I might as well set this phase into motion now.

At 130 pm, the MM was weighed at 43.7 gm. I noticed YS had taken out the krill like component ( came from Claus shama food) scattering them on the floor of his cage. YS did not eat all the 1.6 gram missing from the bowl now.

YS was at 34.6 gm.

There had been some changes to his training attitude today. Perhaps he ate so much , both from his MM and from the morning training sessions. Perhaps today was not his day, or he heard songbirds elsewhere and wanted to sing back against them. Or maybe he did not like my face today.

His recalls to me were not instantaneous. After looking at me and getting the cue, he looked away showing disinterest. Maybe he was taking revenged for my cavalier attitude to him in the morning.

I had to call twice before he flew to me.

Or I cued him to fly to me. He continued to look me in the eye, but he waited and waited, before he flew to me 4-5 seconds later.

At 630 pm, the MM was weighed to be 42.1 gm

YS was at 34.4 gm


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

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