Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bird Traps

There are many devices being sold out there in the market to trap birds. A friend gave me 2 bird traps that he made himself out of cheap wire mesh. I find them to be unique in its simplicity yet complicated in its triggering mechanism. Those who has tried to make one themselves will probably know what I am talking about.

The below trap is suitable for active birds that hop around among small branches. Better still if they are fruit eaters as there are in built 2 pairs of forks for fruits to entice them. The small chamber is to cage a bird to act as a lure.

The following one is suitable for a ground bird. With a triggering mechanism in the form of a small pedal to be stepped on. The size limits it to a small ground bird. For larger birds, the principles are the same but at a larger scale.

There are of course many other interesting devices, but I would like to highlight the two above due to its simplicity and the fact that they are one of its kind. Taking shape in the mind of a trapper and translated into a trapping device by using scraps to build.

I think, this friend of mine if he puts his mind to it, he could probably come out with a better mouse trap ;)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maintaining Birds (1)

I have been asked many times on how I cope with so many birds. the truth is, I can barely cope hahaha!
But maintaining a systematic schedule helps. Cleanliness is top in the list to maintain a bird in good health. Therefore, I would like to record some of my schedules down.

Oriental cages are mainly made from bamboo and newspaper linings are the commonly used material to maintain basic cage cleanliness. It is the same with me. However, newspapers could be a source of problem itself, especially if one uses too many layers of it and food, insect, dust etc gets trapped between the layers for too long. Making it a health hazard not only to birds but to humans as well.

For me, I actually count the umber of newspapers I use. 20 pieces, most of the time. Why 20? If I throw away 1 piece a day, it would take 20 days before I reach the last piece. That isn't too soon, nor too long a time for me. So when I reach the last piece, usually the bottom will be a bit dusty and I hose down the base with water to wash away the dust and what not. Then I dry it with a cloth and spray it with the normal aerosol spray meant for mosquitoes.

Now, the aerosol thing is also a matter to be debated as it could be toxic to birds. So common sense prevails - spray it quickly and directly at joints that could potentially harbours mites and do it far away from the birds. After that air it a bit and top up with another 20 layers of newspapers. So far I have never had a sick bird before. And all my experimenting with sick birds has to be sourced from outside.

I find some people uses too many layers. Less than 20 would be better, but that could be too much maintenance.

Next come the perches. It should have a thorough scrub down every two weeks. I used washing detergent and then scrub under running water to get rid of all the detergent. Used to use an anti-septic (Savlon) but nowadays a bit lazy, probably need to pick up the habit again.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stock Reduction (3) - the photos

Medusa, going to be 3 years old this year:

A Yellow-vented Bulbul, kept from young by a friend:

A Thai mix Tekukur, suppose to be used for competition. turned out to be female. Laid 4 eggs so far ;) :

A 3 molt Magpie. Never fought before. May be a champion in the making hehehe! :

A 3 in 1 pikat according to owner. Can play "jebak", "tonggok" and "tanah". Too good to be true. So, have to go to someone who is willing to bring him to go trapping:

Hatched on Sept 2008. Still young, hopefully can improve on his "buang" jalan:

Very difficult to get this fella. Hopefully will do justice in his new home:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Scenes at Bkt Serindit

This is a video of the Grik Tai Mong that was exchanged with Apollo 6. I think this is the last footage that was taken of him. As usual, due to lack of real competition from others, he is the most hardworking fella there. It was a bad time to film as it was windy and the branches swaying here and there. Otherwise, he has a good repertoire of songs. Better than Apollo 6 in my opinion....

The number of Mata Puteh brought there is increasing and hopefully it is sustainable. It should be sustained for a prolonged period to attract more players. Its a situation where, if there are not enough birds, nobody is interested and it won't attract more players. People fail to realise that they have to make the first move to be there, to support and to encourage. Things just won't happen if everybody sits at home. Therefore I must express thanks to the pioneers who is there week after week....

An unplanned activity.... the place attracted some finch lovers who took the opportunity to "chai" their finches there. So far, the Green Singing Finch and Greater Green Singing Finch has made their appearance. I think it would be a matter of time when the Grey Singing Finch would make their appearance, base on sales of finches locally....

Teaching a Zosterop to take dry pellets

I took for granted that a wild caught Zosterop would automatically learn how to eat pellets. It nearly died (a wild one that I caught in my garden). Fortunately I have the habbit of giving fruits and honey generously. He must have survived on these items ;)

When he got a bit fluffy, I transfered him to stay with an old Zosterop that has been with me probably close to 2 years now. Good to observe that they don't fight and seen in the footage their very sociable nature. I think it is called allopreening or something.... must check up on the term.

I have separated them at this point as he has learned to eat well and is his bubbly self again. He mid tones quite a lot, so confirm a male.

warning: watching the video may get some people upset about keeping birds alone in cages

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stock Reduction (2)

More or less finalised what to let go. Will post a photo of each of them for remembrance ;)

1) Spotted Dove (female) - comp bird
2) Zebra Dove (class C, - born Sept 09)
3) Zebra Dove (pikat tonggok - 3 in 1)
4) Barau-barau
5) White-rumped Shama (female a.k.a. Medusa)
6) Yellow-vented Bulbul (appears to be male, on the wild side even though kept from baby, caught many birds already)
7) Magpie Robin (never fought before - 3rd molt)
(2 mata puteh already with new owner not included in the list)

Addition to the flock:
1) Red-whiskered Bulbul

If my maths is still o.k., minus 7 plus 1 is still minus 6. Then it is a good thing ;)

Lets see how it goes by this Saturday, I may change my mind.

note: this is just a personal rambling, all birds found their new owner, please do not contact me regarding any of the above

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apollo 6

Transfered Apollo 6 to a 15" Magpie cage for easy transport. Now come to think of it, he needs at least 18" for room to play. Anyway, he did not disappoint on the hard working side at the padang last Sunday. However, the competitors are on the quiet side though ;) not in their peak form yet, so he can still be king for the time being.

Below is Apollo 6 at night. The other Shama is a recording of Slick which belongs to Andy Doan from U.S. I used it to tease him a little bit.

Somebody offered to exchange him for a 7"+ bird at the padang but I have to decline. All Shamas are molting at the moment. He is the only playable one left. Anyway, I have free flying plans for him later after I solve the cats problem.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Getting Back Apollo 6

The story of Apollo 6......
Actually I sold him off due to space constraint. Its either him or the Grik Tai Mong which I did not come round to give a name. Anyway, buyer has problem of coaxing him to bath, so to make a long story short, I exchange him with the Grik Tai Mong.

When I reached home, the first thing I did was transfer him to a bathing cage. Tossed a cockroach in and off he went into the bathing cage seeking after the cockroach. Bathing at this juncture is important as Apollo 6 looks a bit stressed out and I was told he wasn't singing the day before.

Apollo 6 getting his morsel of treat in the bath cage:

Then he just sat there in the bathing cage looking stupid. Time for spraying - sprinkled some water on Apollo 6 and finally he picked up the courage (or the concept of bathing) to test the water.... washing his beak first and then finally plunge his whole body into the water tray. Phew!.... what a relief. After getting him into his cage, I decided to hang it in the kitchen where I can monitor more closely.

The only sound he made thus far is the tick ticking sound of a Shama. Gave him a few more roaches and called it a night.

The next day, I bath him in the evening again. This time no need spraying. He bath well on his own although he still need his treat to cross cage.
That night, I heard his mid-tone. I am relieved. He is gaining back his confidence. I do not bath my Shamas daily, but Apollo 6 just need the extra attention for the mean time.

Today, Apollo sang more loudly and he was treated to another bath and hang up to dry in the garden. He looks more confident now and he sang for a long period of time. Although not yet at his loudest volume, I think he is ready for "chai" this coming Sunday ;)

He may yet spring a surprise at our weekly meet ;)

Apollo 6, singing while drying himself on a cloudy evening sky:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stock Reduction

Was away today to K.L., came back home in the evening and saw the newly caught Puteh wasn't feeling too o.k. Forgot to teach him how to eat pellets. Did provide him honey, fruits and dry pellets yesterday but apparently it wasn't enough. Placed him together with a very tame Puteh in order for him to observe that the dry pellets are edible stuff. Hope all will be well. I do not like birds to die in my care.

This brings me to a periodic stock reduction. Have been trying to reduce stock many times now. But from today onwards, must be seriously considering it.

1) Female White-rumped Shama (Medusa) to be released in Ayer Keroh Recreational Forest. She should be able to fend for herself there.
2) Merboks (Zebra Doves) - hmmmm.... hard decision.
3) Tekukur (Spotted Doves) - I think must let go the female to someone who is keen to breed from her.
4) Murai Kampung (Magpie) - 1 remaining but is molting at the moment. Will need to release him after the molt then.
5) Mata Puteh (Oriental White Eye) - just gave 2 away yesterday.
6) Hmmmm...... who else eh?

One thing about giving away birds. I do not give to people unknown to me. I do not give to people who I think will sell them. I do not give to people that I doubt their ability to take care of them. So, giving away birds is not so easy.

Freeing them is a very viable option. Although many of my friends argue that they may not be able to fend for themselves. It may be true for some species, but I think they are quite intelligent and adapts well. They will learn to survive (from what I learn from some of the very experienced bird keepers).

One reason why I like to keep local birds. No risk of introducing non indigenous species to the wild ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tagging of Wild Birds (3)

Caught a Yellow-vented Bulbul just now. Lucky I spotted him early as a black cat was eyeing him already when entangled in the net. Quite difficult to remove him as he worked himself into an entangled mess. After suffering some bites from this fella. Not to mention his sharp claws digging into my flesh, I managed to get him disentangled.

Fitted a ring on his leg as shown in the picture.

The release:

Also caught today is a Mata Puteh that wanders by when I am bathing my birds. Will keep this fella first as he has a big long body.

And also started experiment on "ubat tekan" today on Yusuf's B Merbok.
Will probably dose day 1, day 4, day 7 and thereafter weekly dose depending on response. Out of curiosity and to indulge the sadistic streak in me hahahaha!

Tagging of Wild Birds (2)

Caught 2 house sparrows and found the paper clip tags (rings) too hard to safely put on the small sparrow's legs. Found a softer rubberised wire and made a few more small rings for the sparrows. Worked perfectly. Tagged them and released. Now waiting for them to be spotted again around the garden...... or will they go far far away to play and forage for food? time will tell ;)

Tagging of Wild Birds (1)

I think I will bring this hobby of bird keeping to another exciting episode. Tagging of wild birds. Since they are becoming quite bold around my home, time to scare the shit out of them.... muahahahaha! Now...... how to make cheap tags? Buying ready made aluminium tags from shops came to mind but at RM1 each, well.... if there are better alternatives, why not ;)

Then someone suggested coloured paper clips. Which I then made in 2 sizes...... now to test them out.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wild Red-whiskered Bulbuls

A friend highlighted to me the appearance of a pair of Red-whiskered Bulbul (Merbah Jambul)in the vicinity of his house. He wanted to catch them and so, I assisted by borrowing for him 2 Jambuls. Today, this friend told me that he like the one I borrowed from the shop. Very hardworking, many different tones.

Anyway, I was also pleasantly surprised by this Jambul which I borrowed from a bird shop. Told him it was only RM150 and he should just pay the price and keep him. The other Jambul which I borrowed from a friend is molting. I will keep this fella as it is a very old bird.

Spotted Dove (2)

The above 2 eggs was found 2 days ago and was laid by what I thought was a male Tekukur. He turns out to be a she ;)
Anyway, might as well keep her for home listening as she appears to be a hardworking singer. The below is a previous write up on her:

Natural Acoustic Machines: Spotted Dove

Baby Merbok (2)

Taken with a basic camera phone, the visual does not turn out very clear. Anyway, on the left is the baby merbok (fostered by Tekukur Jawa - Ringneck Dove) and on the right is a baby Tekukur Jawa. Just note the difference in size. The parents doesn't seem to mind ;)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ayam Bekisar Project

Added this new juvenile Red Jungle Fowl hen to the chicken coup. Additional potential bride for the Green Jungle Fowl. Lost track of her age. Been keeping since she was a few days old.

The handsome Green Jungle Fowl:

Second attempt at incubating by this Red Jungle Fowl hen. Sitting on 4 eggs. Joke is I lost track how long already hahahaha!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tekukur (Spotted Dove)

Took possession this Spotted Dove today. Supposed to be a good pikat but was retired to the aviary after some wing injury. Anyway, the first thing he did after being tied to his cage is to eat and eat. Hmmmm...... curiously, he must not have been eating properly in the aviary. Hope he settles down soon...... but looking at his body sign, it would be quite fast ;)

Update on the hatched Merbok (Zebra Dove) - first hatchling is doing well, the 2nd egg did hatch but the chick did not survive. They are being fostered by a pair of Tekukur Jawa.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pikat Merbok 3 in 1

Borrowed a "pikat" from a friend. This bird has been loaned from friend to friend. Last I heard a young kampung chap was riding a motorbike with this fella perched on the handle bar going around catching wild merboks. That is how tame this little fella
is. When reached home, have to make a quick improvised little perch to put him on. And he stays on the perch for hours......

He is fondly called a 3 in 1 pikat because, reputedly he is good with various method of catching merboks. Placed in "jebak" (traditional trap), "jebak tonggok" (open air trap) and on ground (much like the way people catch Tekukur). Now must find time to test him out only ;)