December 13th, 2005

my very mercenary shama


There was this sensation of a cold cold nose on my nose this morning. I was paying off my sleep debt accumulated by waking up relatively early after sleeping relatively late the last few weeks. I threw Ivan off my chest and covered my face with a pillow to sleep again.

I was then woken up from sleep with this sensation of my stomach being pumped. Ivan was back to his self appointed duty and was treading away on my stomach. Most thoughtfully, he extended his claws from some perverse pleasure. I rolled to my side and he had to drop off from my body and the bed. Then I was pulled back from sleep with a claw at the end of a paw digging into my nose. As the clock told me it was ten, I surrended to Ivan and got out of bed.

Got my coffee and breakfast to watch TV while Yingshiong was watching me. I knew he had lots of MM from day before so he was not going to starve and die on me. Then at 1030am, I opened the sliding door and got into the flight room to go through all those rituals. I took off the cover to the scale, stepped over to YS cage and removed the MM bowl to weigh it.

The MM was at 41.4 gm against 42.1 at 630pm yesterday. Since he would not be eating or eating very little after 630 pm , the bulk of that would be eaten this morning.

I took the clicker in my left hand and pointed to the scale with my right. That bloody bird did not fly to the scale as normal. I turned my head to him and told him " come on, SCALE SCALE SCALE". I was not in the best of mood. To my surprise, he still did not fly over and instead, was looking into the hall, and then turning his head to look at me, and turning his head to look into the hall.

All of a sudden, either the coffee got into my head or I suddenly woke up or a combination. I then realised the sliding glass door was left completely opened. I failed to close it after stepping into the room. YS could have flown into the living room and out of the door and other places I had not meshed over. Like the few times with Tinkerbell when I stepped out into the open outside the apartment and realised I forgot to attached his leash to his harness. Or riding on my bike and realising the leash was not clipped to harness.

I know that Tink knew that, and she was deliciously happy when I realised that to her nodding of her head as I quickly rectified the error of my ways.

YS knew from the time I stepped into the room I forgot to close the door. He waited through the weighing of bowls and only when I called him to the scale, he indicated to me in his own way the sliding door was wide open.

Only when I closed that door did he then flew to the scale. He was at 34.2 gm.

But as I indicated earlier, he did have his breakfast. Today the weighing was done so much later. And as you have seen from the past records, his morning weight tend to rise rapidly towards mid day. And 1030 ++ was nearer to noon then to morning.

Since he was so nice about staying in flight room, I let him ate 3 millis for that weighing.

I had lots of crickets too. I used the smb 3 for crickets as well, so the crickets could have the peatmoss substrate to lay their eggs into to give little crickets eventually.

I also did a change of the crickets diet. When I started with crickets, I wrote about adding cat food to the cricket diet as that was advised by stuff I got from Internet that crickets should have protein in their diet. But after that, YS appeared to dislike eating the crickets. With this batch of crickets, I did not add cat food feeding the crickets with bread, cabbage and carrots and sweet potatoes. For protein, I gave them Tinkerbell mash that I had leftover from the making of YS mash. So the protein the crickets got were vege/beans proteins. YS love the crickets now.

I also had a big batch of suris that I extracted yesterday from the smb 2 together with millis for the intermdiate box.

YS was responsive even though his weight was high. Maybe the outside birds stopped singing and challenging him.

His recalls to me were needle sharp. At call of "Yingshiong!", his eyes snapped to my eyes. Then at the 'come' of 'come here', he was on his way to my finger, to get his click and treat of milli alternating with cricket.

He then had to do his 'step up' with treat at all step up. Then his touch target with flying up and to the sides.

I pressed on with my touching of him. He caught on to that new introduction and my very mercenary shama set his price. When he was taking millis from the little round milli pillbox, I stuck my finger out to rub his neck and side of his head. He did not have much of a choice as my finger was over the milli box that he must rub against if he stuck his bill into the box to get the milli. I did not have much of a choice. Shama are solitary birds unlike hookbills who like grooming of each other. I had to get YS used to fingers touching him all over.

If the milli pillbox ran out of millis, he immediately flew back to door perch. In his way, he told me he would only allow me to rub his head and neck as long as millis were in that box. Otherwise NO!. Bloody little money minded, or should I say, grub minded little creature.

Luckily for him, he had an unprincipled caregiver like me fully prepared to pay his bribes so I could do what I wanted. To give him head rubs and neck rubs until he got familiar with them and accept them. Later on, that would be extened to his wings and much later on, to raising and stroking him under the wings as well. All that would be the preliminary to getting harness on him later.

Of course, now and then, I left him so I could do my own things. Until he called me back for me to spend time with him again.

At 1230 pm, his MM was at 41.0 gm. That did not surprise me as he gotten quite a few crickets and suris for the exercises.

YS was at 35.2 gms

I left the house to go downtown returning at about 5 30 pm. Did not have the time to do another session with him.

Then at 615, the MM was weighed to be 40.6 and YS at 33.8 gm

He looked so responsive that another training session was done with him, largely so I could feed him more suris and crickets. His response was so good, he got lots of jackpots. Surprisingly, even after large crickets, he came back to his door perch with his 'ready' look for more training. And he got them.

At 630 pm before I left him, he weighed in at 34.7 gm, both of us very contented.


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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