January 25th, 2006

head loop with touch target


YS was singing, with breaks now and then, but he was singing.

At 930 am, he was weighed to be 30.6 gm. YS had to be tricked into the living room for me to harvest suris and millis from smb3. Otherwise, he would make bold sneak attacks at the suris.

The milli box was at 21.6 gm and the suri box at 71.3 gm and the cricket box was at 29.8.

We then started with the usual short recalls and shoulder recalls. Followed by intermediate recalls and then the long recalls. Periodically, he had suris for treats, even at short recalls. It was best to vary the treats, he might get a milli or 3 millis or a suri.

He might have been hungry, but he seemed to be having fun flying to me. Long flights would have him flying to me with a 'grraacck' coming from his throat. Almost as if he was telling me that he was coming. I then moved into the PC room, carrying the suris and millis past him. As I did my thing in PC room, I could hear him periodically calling for me in the living room and then the dining area. I walked out to say hi to him and did a few recalls down the corridor. No more of the HIMB trick to get him into the PC room and neither did I walked him in either. I then went back into the PC room and in a short while, he flew in and started to shout at me. That was not enough for him to get his treats. I did some recalls as excuse to give him his suris.

I went out to living room. I heard him calling and saw him again in the bedroom chatting up his image in the mirror. As I stood by the door, he saw me in the reflection and he turned his head to look at my mirror image. He knew that was mirror image as I raised my hand to do a silent recall. He immediately turned around and flew to me. I was carrying the millis this time and I happily rewarded him with millis. He then flew off me back to the mirror and I made my way back to living room.

He joined me in a while.

I was wrestling in my mind how to get him to accept the loop. As he was perched on the fan , I decided to try to get him to accept the loop, It was not easy and I wished I had another arm. My left hand was holding the loop. My right hand was holding the milli box wedged between my last finger and palm with the target stick between the middle and ring finger and the clicker was between thumb and forefinger.

I raised to loop to his head level and the target stick a bit beyond and asked him to touch target. While he was reluctant to stick his head through the loop to eat his milli, he happily touched target to get his click and treat. I had not expected that as he must have been rather full with the suris and millis I treated him. That loop and target stick was done a few times. I made the loop smaller and smaller until he had to position his head throught he loop to touch target.

Perhaps tomorrow I will fade away the target stick and give him click and treat when he insert his head into the loop. This was easier than I thought.

BUT, the main problem is still ahead, to get the body strap under his wings and fastened at the front.

Tried as I had, I could not figure out a way how to do that with his willing cooperation. I might have to hold him down, something I was reluctant to do. Over the last month, when he stepped on my finger, sometimes, I closed my fingers on his foot. He accepted that, but a few seconds later, he would struggle to fly off.

I released my thumb to allow him to fly away. As far as for parrots, it is an acceptable technique to hold a parrot by clamping your fingers on the foot. But I never did that on Tinkerbell. I never had to. And if I wanted to make sure Tink would not fly away, my hand would be on her back.

The shama foot and leg looked so delicate that I did not want to hold him by his toes and risk injury.

Sometimes when he was on my hand, I curled my fingers and palm around him, kind of cupping him but not in contact with his body. He was used to me doing that and sometimes, he would get into mock fight with my thumb.

My worry is that if I tried to hold him by force to fit the body strap around and under his wings, I might be able to do that once. And if he developed a fear of me for doing that, that would set back what I had acheived. He might not want to be on my hand again.

A harness involved with two key aspects. The first is getting the loop around the neck. It seemed that I should be doing that very soon with the way things were developing. The second aspect is to get the body strap around the body and under the wings to be fastened at the front

Off the top of my head, I may need to work on that second aspect of body strap slowly. I would need to get YS to first tolerate a ribbon on the back, and then to allow me to work that ribbon body strap under the wings. How to do that will be what I need to figure out as I now do not have a clue even to start.

I need to think deeper. Or if you folks reading this have any ideas, do speak out. The wilder the better as that would probably be the right road for me to try.

At about 12 noon, YS was at 32.1 gm. The milli box wasat 19.9 gm (less 1.7 gm)and the suri box at 70.3 gm (less 1.0 gm).

YS was about to be confined to allow Ivan to be liberated. This was when I also gave him the crickets. Most of the time, when in the apartment, he would pooped on his main perches which have towels or newspaper. But I also minimised that mess by giving main feedings when he would be in the flight room for a while to digest his food. A couple of crickets were given after which YS weight was at 33.5 gm. Then I thought what the heck! I might as well give him the other two crickets as well. He ate so well that he refused to come to the weighing before I went out for lunch and to the gym.

When I got back, YS was weighed at 530 pm to be 32.2 which indicated how fast he assimilated his food. Then it was back to play and exercises again. He readily poked his head into the ribbon loop. We played hide and seek with him flying into the PC room.

Then at 710 pm, his last weighing was done. He was at 33.1 gm to my shock until I saw splashes of water and that he must have just taken his bath. So that reading was YS , the treats he had and whatever water still on him.

The milli was at 18.1 gm with 3.5 drop from morning. The suri was at 69.8 or 1.5 gm drop from morning. The cricket box was at 27.6 gm, or 2.2 gm drop.


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

MM - mixed mash , from YSM 60%, Claus (food for insectivore birds)
20% and Sinlin 20% (local commercial food for shama)

YSM - Read "making of Yingshiong mash"

suri - Read "Conditioning clicker day 3 - and some tips on suris"

milli - read "Found the perfect treat and Yingshiong first "step up""

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