Tuesday, September 28, 2010


A friend struggling to release a water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), 2nd largest lizard in the world. A delicacy in some parts of the world. A pest to some bird trappers. This fella survived to harass for another day ;-)

- Time you enjoy wasting wasn't wasted -

Monday, September 27, 2010

Song of the White-rumped Shama Pt.2 of 79

When discussing songs of the White-rumped Shama, maybe we should separate its song from the other sounds that it makes.... sub-song, clicking sound etc. which undoubtedly may also be a form of communication, but not its true song as it is known, which is delivered deliberately and with force. Seperate its spectacular display from its song, even though I believe its an important part of the song communication. By sound alone, a lesser Shama can be cowed into submission and stressed out sometimes to the extent of entering into a depressed state and a stress molt.

The fact that a Shama mimics sounds from its environment may be proof that the actual sound matters less but the way it is presented and strung together could be more important. Of course I am no authority on this but for now, if I were to study it, I would try to isolate the way it is presented to find a co-relation. Now, to reach statistical significance, where the hell can I find another 42 Shama licenses??? :-D

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Luxury in the middle of nowhere

Bought a chair from a shop selling camping equipments recently. Took it out for a test run today.
A bit of "kiasu" according to my friend hahaha! he don't know yet I am planning to get a portable shower system ;-)

Somewhere in Serom, Johor...... testing the Spotted Dove, making contact with trappers & fellow hobbyists......

- Time you enjoy wasting wasn't wasted -

Song of the White-rumped Shama Pt.1 of 79

It has been discussed before, the song of the White-rumped Shama. But here goes my thoughts......
Why do they sing? Whether its to protect its territory, finding a mate, warning of danger, I think it all bores down to simple communication. That is the summary of its purpose (in my distorted opinion).

To the human ears, we may be marvelling at its repertoire, loudness, melody etc according to our limited hearing capability, which scientists have concluded that it is very limited indeed when compared to animals. There are spectrum of frequencies that are just beyond the human ears. Now, taking the example of the male Shama singing to attract a female. Just by voice alone (maybe not), the female would judge the suitability of the male as a potential mate. Meaning that the song of the male Shama has to communicate the vigor, health and genetic suitability as a potential mate.

In defending his territory with songs, it too must communicate the message "don't play-play or I will kick your butt". So, potentially there is more to the song that meets the human ears, I should think. Very often, a male Shama in defending its territory, does not need to resort to physical violence. The lesser male will know its place and move away. As can be attested by many Shama keepers who claimed that their Shama "jammed" after being exposed to a fierce Shama. Or a particular Shama that has a tendency to "jammed" another that is placed near it.

Decades ago, it would have been the sole territory and capability of scientists to study and dwelve into this area. With the availability of many cheap gadgets and modern computers, such studies can be placed in the hands of hobbyists.

So, did anybody do a study on vocal quality of the perfect Shama? probably yes, but I do not know. It would interest me greatly. Then it would be a great way to selectively breed for good vocals (audible or non audible) - the ones that will attract hordes of females and keep other males miles away...... trembling in fear ;-)
Yes, to know the type of vocals that communicate strength and vigor would be very helpful......

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wild Zebra Doves

The Zebra Dove is one funny bird with a price range of between RM1 to RM100,000 depending on it's voice. Thought I start with the lowest end specimens. 2 handfed babies at RM0.... hehehe! taken from nest by a friend. Hand fed on Kaytee formula for baby parrots.

After a week, decided to send to a friend to feed as it's taking too much time & effort. And recently took them home as they have been fully weaned. Will give away the female to a friend who is interested in keeping it and keep the male to be trained as a "pikat" fir the fun factor.

Comes from wild parents with good voice, I was told ;-)

Here they are...... kept in a multi storey cage ;-)

- Time you enjoy wasting wasn't wasted -

Monday, September 13, 2010

Female Oriental Magpie Robin

Added two female Oriental Magpie Robin to my collection. For the fun of it, I will try to cross my Black-bellied Magpie with them. That is if I can find the extra space ;-)
May be a waste of time, but isn't it what hobbies are all about?

The Black-bellied is endowed with a bigger body, a desirable trait for most Magpie keepers in my neighbourhood.

- Time you enjoy wasting wasn't wasted -

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Training the Spotted Dove

Yesterday was the rare occasion that I manage to squeeze in time to train a friend's Spotted Dove. It has been with me for moons now & this is the second time I took him on an outing. 2 other Spotted Dove trapper was with me. Catching up with them on what is happening in their circle of members & manage to test out my new foldable chair from Coleman. Next to include in the accessories is a cooler box to chill some beer ;-)

foot note: the Spotted Dove is a popularly kept bird in this region. There are two types being kept. One for its song for competition purposes. Another for purposes of catching the wild birds. The wild Spotted Dove is of no value in song competitions. They are kept for home listening purposes and to be trained as a "pikat"- lure to catch the wild birds.
To the undiscerning, their voice sounds similar, but to an aficionado, there are many varieties of call.
Training as a "pikat" simply entails getting the bird used to travelling, pitched on the ground or a trap cage depending on preference. The bird should sing almost immediately to call for the wild birds in the area and change its tempo & calling tones as the wild bird approaches. Finally , luring the wild birds for a one on one fight on the ground which is booby trapped with tiny lassos ;-)
...... I can't resist telling this.... the hardcore trappers of such birds could be out in the jungle/field from morning till dusk at every available opportunity. From stories, they were likely the ones who find bodies of murdered victims dumped in jungles, second only to the local workers in the area :-D
The wild caught Spotted Dove are worthless monetarily, selling them would often not enough to even cover the fuel cost of travelling (unless you use mist net to mass harvest). But its in the fun and joy of trapping them that hobbyists are addicted to. Addicted in the real sense of the word ;-)

- Time you enjoy wasting wasn't wasted -

Tiong Bodoh?

I enjoy a challenge or two one in a while. Today, it's to find out what specie of Myna is seen in a shop below ;-)

If I were to make a prediction, they can be taught to talk base on their low base rumbling vocal. Sounds like they are mumbling to each other.

Less active in the bird forum nowadays. Focusing on off forum bird matters like bird watching - in the shop that is hahaha!

- Time you enjoy wasting wasn't wasted -

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bird Food

I always seem to have problem keeping my Jambuls and mata Puteh in good form. Other than human error on my part, I strongly suspect that the bird food is partly to blame. The last straw is opening a moldy packet of food. In fact it wasn't the first instance. I have thrown out a similarly degraded packet if food before.

Now, identifying a grossly deteriorated food is easy. But how about those that are already deteriorated but not to an advance level as to be able to physically see it or even smell it. Some packets of food are more aromatic than others. So, those that don't smell as good, are they any more good for the birds. Jambuls don't eat a lot, so will it be worse after exposure to air when placed in the cup. To change the food daily or give enough to consume for the day is both risky and too much work.

Could it be this uncertainty in food quality that is causing some birds to drop in form, molt before it's time, fall sick etc. I think I can't rely on the food available locally for Jambuls and Putehs. Will be making my own fortified food base on chicken feed from now on for both these species. Until I can find a commercially viable alternative, my own concoction should be a safer bet.

- Time you enjoy wasting wasn't wasted -