Sunday, November 29, 2009

Apollo X, the White-rumped Shama

Introducing Apollo X in Cheras bird competition:

hmmm.... looks good in my humble opinion. Will write more about him in the future. Unless, I choose to retire him to breeding or sell him off hehehe! then upgrade to Apollo XI?? hahaha! good to dream eh? definitely will be a good dream ;)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Trapping Tools

Since I am at it (blogging), I might as well add a report on another necessary tool for the occasional "bird trapper" - the "parang" or a local designed machete. Bought one yesterday - small basic design. Just like it because its handle and sheath is made of buffalo horn.

Well, I heard that if you are superstitious, better don't get an old parang. Some even say that the buffalo horn attracts "something" from the jungle. Looks like I am going to find out soon if such things are true hehehe!

Dead Birds??

Some time this year, there was a strange occurrence that I have nearly forgotten until a repeat today. See, I found a dead Peaceful Dove in my garden. On my porch to be exact. I have heard of cats that brings prey they have caught back to their owners. But I do not own cats....
The dead bird appears uninjured. So, I was wondering why it choose to die in my home. One probable reason could be because there are many birds in my home and it sound as close to bird paradise as it could possibly get within miles hahaha!

Today, a visiting friend pointed to me a dead Peaceful Dove lying on my brick wall. The bird appears too to be uninjured and full feathered. The eyes were a little sunken, indicating that it could have been dead there for many hours already. I unceremoniously wrap it up in a newspaper, to be disposed off later. But after considering the repeat of this weird incidence, I decided to give it a proper burial.

The dead Peaceful Dove:

After picking a nice spot, I assembled the necessary tools. Luckily, I managed to find a crow bar to loosen the ground because it is quite hard. And a mini "cangkul" came in handy to perfect the work.

The tools:

This is the nice spot where the dove is buried, underneath a palm tree:

Well, as long as they are not my own captive birds dying, I do not mind performing for them the last rituals ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

San Ma - the little skylark

Got reacquainted with one of these delightful and unassuming bird. This little fella just about eats anything - from grains, seeds, chicken feed to insects and worms.
The weather is most unpredictable. It could be scorching hot one part of the day followed by thunderstorm with heavy rain next. Anyway, when it rains, especially in the afternoon or early evening, it seems to be encouraging most songbirds to sing their mid-tones.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hooded Pitta

Ah! I didn't want to blog about this specie just because it is totally protected under the law. But then in a situation where I have to choose between helping to care for such a specie and risking being caught breaking the law, I chose the former. But then I make sure I document its progress and its final reintroduction into the wild.

Seriously though, I have never seen a Hooded Pitta before and so does some active birders I know. It is classified under "uncommon" in a book I own. Luckily, information from the internet came to the rescue. I have no idea what it eats until I Google it up. Appears to thrive on earthworms, snails and insects.

So, crickets and mealworms it shall be. And as in all Malaysian birds, chicken feed also came to the rescue ;). Quite tame fella actually and quickly learns to eat chicken feed. Loud call, which unfortunately I did not manage to record.

Released the Pitta to the Melaka Botanical Park this morning on the way to work since it is strong and healthy.

Here he is looking a bit scared being release in a botanical garden (one of the few safe places left). Probably scared of the new place and the video camera ;)

Entrance to the Malacca Botanical Garden (formerly known as the "Hutan Rekreasi" - recreational forest)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yellow-vented Bulbul

I released a Yellow-vented Bulbul yesterday morning. Fed him with a slice of apple and left his cage open. He didn't go far and was seen loitering around the garden till late evening.
Below is the fella visiting my Jambuls in the aviary

Left out some mealworms on the fence for him to eat while he acclimatise himself to the wild yonders. I think this young fella would adapt well over time.

Henny Mutation Jungle Fowl - an update, a miracle

Well, before I start, let me update a little on the weather these past few weeks. Most times it is terribly hot followed by downpours. And my RJF hen couldn't pick a worst spot to lay her eggs. Its just beside my garden wall.
Whenever it rains heavily, the water will rise and then quickly subside after the downpour. The spot where she lays her eggs is prone to be water logged. At one time in the darkness of night, I actually went out with an umbrella during a downpour to check on her. The water is 1 inch high but she still faithfully sits on her eggs.

A few days ago, she abandoned her eggs because the water rose too high for her. All her eggs were submerged in water. The quickest time taken for the water to subside would at least be half an hour after the rain. I thought the eggs were goners.

Surprisingly, on the morning of 16th November, 2 chicks were seen peeking out from under the hen. By evening, it appears that only the 2 chicks survived the ordeal (out of 5 eggs). Another 2 eggs had well formed dead chicks in them and 1 egg was not fertile.

These are the 2 miracle chicks that made it:

I will stop breeding the pair of RJF and put them up for adoption. My intention were to try breeding the henny mutation cock to an original RJF hen. It has been done, and a total 6 chicks (including the above) were born out of the pairing. All chicks were raised indoor to improve their chances of survival.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Breeding Jambuls Pt3

Last Tuesday, one of my Jambul escaped and it took me about an hour to get him back. It would have made some nice videos, but I was rushing to go out and wasn't in the mood to get the film rolling for his sake ;)

Quite challenging to trap him back. Tried putting out his cage with fruits and crickets in it to attract him. Also placed a "jebak" out with a slice of papaya in it. He seems attracted to the "jebak" initially and managed to land at its edge and eat the papaya. He refused to jump into the perch in the "jebak" that will trigger the trap door to be released.

After which he was preoccupied flying all over the aviary housing a pair of breeding Jambuls. Kekek and opening wing in display. Sigh!.... I think the pair will probably abandon their nest with all these activities. It would all have been fun like the time Chiku escaped if I wasn't rushing for time. Finally caught him with some latex glue, locally known as "terap". This "terap" has a nice texture and is sticky enough to hold the Jambul but not too sticky that the feathers are stuck to it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breeding Jambuls Pt2

A nest was made probably 2 weeks ago. Never seen the nest being used until today. Noticed the female is sitting in the nest which is made inside a coconut husk. Very positive development. Time to be more vigilant in providing supply of live food ;)

Red-whiskered Bulbuls - different judging criteria

There are no birds that are judged with as varied a criteria as the Red-whiskered Bulbuls (a..a. Merbah Jambul, Candek) that I know of. In fact there are 3 distinct cage designs that are commonly used and its popularity depends much on its locality.

First there is the Thai cage or I usually call them the "A" framed cage. It is a square cage broader at the base than the top.
Note:(Correction 11th Nov): I was told it originates from S'pore - this "A" cage)
Then there is the tall cage which is popular in Singapore and was popular in Malaysia not too long ago.
Thirdly there is the "Penang" type cage which is square in design with the top and bottom of roughly the same size, usually slightly bulging in the middle.

The perches placed on these different types of cages are also different in layout. It would have an impact on the behaviour of the birds and therefore, different criteria are used in judging a bird in competition.

I compete my Jambuls in an arena where the favoured type of cages used are the "Penang" design. However my prefered type of cages are the Thai cages. Now, how that would impact on the performance of my birds? I would think they would be at a disadvatage since "perch play" would also score some points. However, winning trophies is not important to me, more importantly the reason that I compete my birds is to benchmark against others and see how I fare against other good specimens base on my own criteria.

The best arena to be critically judged, in my opinion is the normal "chai" place, where most hobbyists gather to train their birds. Here, fellow freinds and strangers would sometimes share comments on birds. It is for the owner to filter from the genuine feedback to dishonest sarcarsm ;)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shedding some light on physical appearance of a Palpebrosa

I am no expert on bird identification. The below photos wasn't commented by me, but some pointers I received from a fellow hobbyist. There was this guy who says that he supplies the "true" Oriental White Eye. So, how to know the difference?
Some say by the voice. But identification of birds through voice is a very specialised skill. I, for one would be quite blur on this, so I would leave it to the experts to thrash it out. But for those who may take an interest on physical difference of sub-species of the Zosterops......

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oriental Magpie Robin Pt.2

Singing non-stop from day one, this appears to be a hard working singer......

His constant singing prompted the Black Bellied Magpie to sing along as well ;)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oriental Magpie Robin Pt.1

Saw an Oriental magpie Robin in a shop couple of days ago, all battered up and tail feathers broken. He was still quite steady, singing away, swaying his body and fanning what is left of his tail :D

Out of impulse, took him home together with cage. He sang his territorial song almost immediately upon reaching home. He is a bird that has lost one fight too many I suppose and dump at the local bird shop to be sold off as a songster. Hmmm.... he has a habit of doing a somersault from the cage floor. Quite entertaining ;)

But a little bit too noisy, probably will keep him until he molt back to his handsome self before finding a new owner for him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pied Bushchat

Lost track of how long I have been keeping a couple of these Bushchats. Finally one has decided to start singing. He appears to be not in very good form, all fluffy and lethargic. Hope he improves soon. The background song is a recording of a singing Oriental Magpie Robin.