Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Skyhawk

One of my favourite shamas is Skyhawk. He has all the attributes that I look for in my shamas.  Not only does he have the structure, song and feather quality that I seek to breed in my shamas but he has also proven to be a prepotent sire with the ability to produce males as good or better than himself.  An example of an outstanding male from him is Falcon.

Because of Skyhawk's ability to produce outstanding chicks, he is one of the mainstays of my breeding program.  Consequently, he has spent much of his time in the breeding aviary and he has been entered in very few competitions. Even then, he has managed to do well in the competitions in which he was entered. He was champion in perhaps the last competition that I entered him in, about 2 years ago at Block 159 AMK.

Skyhawk's desirability can be seen in the unsolicited offer of S$18,000.00 that I received for him some time back.  I refused the offer. Fortunately so, as, he is now starting to produce quality offspring in significant numbers.

The trouble that breeders often have in breeding their outstanding animals is that sometimes such animals tend to have very few offspring for some reason or other. This was the problem that I seemed to be having with Skyhawk until recently.

Last year and early this year, I had very few chicks from him and they were mostly female.  To try to reverse the trend I made changes in his diet and I also paired him with a carefully chosen female.

The changes seem to have worked.  In the first nest with this female, he had 2 male chicks.  Below is the video of one of them, DDS296. At 50 days of age, its tails are 5" and the primary tails, still in sheaths, are continuing to grow.  I think there is a good chance the primary tails will exceed 6" in the next 2 weeks.  If so, based on past information of my line of birds, its first molt tails will likely exceed 12". We shall see.




In Skyhawk's second nest with this female, there were 5 eggs of which 4 were fertile and hatched.  Three of the chicks seem to be male, judging from their structure, the size of their heads and the dark blue feathers that are starting to emerge on their shoulders.

Here is the video of the chicks that I recorded this morning. They are 30 days old.



The chicks have the same structure as their older brother, DDS296 and this suggests that Skyhawk has the ability to produce offspring that are very much alike.  It also means that if DDS296 turns out well, as I expect, the other chicks from Skyhawk will likely turn out the same way.

Skyhawk's third nest also had 5 eggs of which 4 were fertile and hatched. The eldest 3 chicks are 11 days old today and the chick still in the nest is 9 days old. It looks like there will also likely be 3 males in this clutch.

Below is the photo that I took of them this morning.


Their mother commenced brooding a new batch of 5 good size eggs 2 days ago and the eggs should hatch 11 days later, i.e on Christmas Day.  It will be a lovely present if 4 of the eggs hatch and an even lovelier present if all the eggs are fertile and I get 5 chicks.

Monday, December 15, 2014

DDS294

This is Longfellow (DDS294), Pretty Boy's youngest son. He was hatched on 2 October, 2014. His head has started to molt but his primary tails are still growing.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Birds of Taiwan photogarphs


Enjoy the Beautiful Birds of Taiwan in Stupendous Photography    
http://m.ba-bamail.com/View.aspx?emailid=12608&source=mobile_share


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DDS296;011214

This is Skyhawk's son, DDS296.  He is 36 days old.  His taimong tails are 3.6" at this age and they have the potential to grow beyond 6".  This is a guess made on the basis that the white and black tails are still almost in line and the growth may continue at an average of about 0.1" a day until the taimong is 65 days old.



If the taimong tails exceed 6", I would expect its first molt tails to be12" to 13+".  This does not mean that taimongs with shorter tails will not have long first molt tails.  Falcon's son, DDS267, which is owned by Michael, had taimong tails of 5.5" but his first molt tails appear to exceed 12"

DDS296 also has the structure, standing position and character that I wish to have in my line of shamas.  Young birds such as this make me impatient for them to complete their development as taimongs and then their first molt so that I can see if their potential is realised.  Its like choosing a puppy. The adult dog may or may not turn out as expected.

Apache, relaxed singing


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pretty Boy ii (DDS276)

This is Pretty Boy's son, Pretty Boy ii.  He is about 6 months old and he is owned by Jeffrey.  The video below was recorded this morning a few minutes after his transfer from molting aviary to cage.  The very high lift of his tails suggests the type of display he will likely have when he matures and comes into form.

Nighthawk (DDS267)

The end of this year's shama breeding season is approaching but I still have a few breeding pairs. Most of the birds that were hatched this year are in the midst of their first molt and this is the time that breeders await with anticipation the completion of the molt of the young birds.

Michael, Jeffrey and I molt our birds in aviaries if we can.  During this time, we try to let the birds have a quiet time so that they can have a good molt.  Any serious assessment of their song, character, display and structure needs to await the completion of the molt and the bird's rise in form.  It is only then that it can truly be assessed.

While the molt is a quiet time, this does not prevent my friends and I from speculating on how the birds are likely to turn out.  In the course of our discussions over the phone, photos or videos may be sent so that the person at the other end can have a better idea of what is being discussed.

The photos below are of Nighthawk (DDS267), which is owned by Michael.  Its taimong tails were about 5 1/2". It is about 7 1/2 months old - the son of Falcon and Funkie's daughter. This pair seem to produce the type of shama that my friends and I like.


The photos were taken by Michael (under dim light) and sent to me in the course of our phone conversation last night when I enquired how DDS267's molt was progressing.

Its molt is approaching completion and Michael will transfer it from aviary to cage in about 2 weeks.  Both of us are waiting with anticipation to see it in a cage so that we can better assess it.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Shogun (DDS274)


Photo below is of Shogun (DDS274) taken on 2nd Nov 2014



On 2nd November 2014, I uploaded a video on Youtube of Falcon's son, DDS274.  He was then only slightly over 5 months of age and he had just completed his moult.  The length of the video was half-a-minute and I did not post it on my blog.

The video has apparently attracted some attention and it has been uploaded on at least one other site, without acknowledgement that it is taken from my site.  To avoid persons who may be approached to buy it being misled on its ownership, I wish to state that it is not for sale. The video is below:

Boy Wonder

About a month ago, I published a video of Boy Wonder on this blog.  His form was rising and he was starting to chai causing me to think that he had completed his 2nd molt.  One of his primary tails was then about 1" shorter than the other but this was probably because the old tails had shed at different times.

However, Boy Wonder had not completed his molt and his tails continued to grow.  I was lucky that they were not spoilt by bringing him out to chai too early.  During the growth of the tails, the base is soft.  They are filled with blood and can be easily damaged if the bird waves the tails vigorously.  This is especially so with long-tailed birds towards the end of the tails' growth.

Not only have the tails become longer, but the shorter primary tail has also grown until both tails are about the same length. He is now approaching peak condition.

I usually do not spend time training my birds but most of them are now molting and I have some free time in the evenings.  For the past 2 Thursdays, I have taken Boy Wonder to the night chai at Serangoon North (Singapore).  Although I had not brought him out to chai previously, he was not very nervous in the car and performed well the first Thursday.  He did much better last Thursday and I expect that if I bring him out this coming Thursday, he will show substantial improvement as he will have got used to being transported, especially at night.

The video below shows him singing on his own under artificial lighting at his location in my home as I am getting him ready for bed at night.  The bird singing in the background is about 10 metres away, in my indoor aviary.

Boy wonder learns new songs readily.  These include the songs of the Samyong and the Yellow-vented Bulbul.  The song of the yellow-vented bulbul can be heard at 0.30 and again at 1.05 of the recording.


Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Season

This is Falcon's son, Shogun.  He is 6 months old.


This female is the result of an outcross from one of my favourite males with a female that I had acquired at a high price.  I have high hopes that she will add new qualities to my line of shamas in the coming year.