Friday, June 6, 2008

Wild Boy Escapes

written March 27, 2007

This is Wild Boy enjoying himself for a few hours today in my garden. He is the brother of Skinny Boy and Pretty Boy, all from the same nest. He had escaped while my helper was transferring him from the aviary to the cage.

The thing to bear in mind when a shama escapes is that if it has been with you for some time, it will regard your garden as part of its territory and it is unlikely that it will fly away if it is not frightened. This does not apply to juveniles that are much below 3 months of age or to newly wild-caught shamas.

When a tame shama escapes the worst thing you can do is to chase it with a net in the hope of catching it. You will only frighten it by doing so and it may fly away never to return. I once had a new helper who chased my escape shama with a net. It flew to the roof of my home where it was mobbed by crows and it flew away. Luckily it returned after 10 days none the worst for its adventure except for a scar on its cheek.

When a tame shama escapes, place its cage (with the door open, of course) close to where it is perching in the garden. It may fly a short distance as you approach but it will return. Place some of its favourite live food in a tray which should then be placed just inside the door and in line with it. Position the cage so that the door faces you when you approach to close it after the bird has re-entered. If you have spare cages, do the same thing with these cages, placing them at likely places where you expect the bird to be.

After doing the above, all you need is patience. The bird will eventually enter the cage. It may take 5 minutes or 5 hours but it will do so. If the bird has escaped late in the evening or even when it is raining heavily, don’t fret. There is nothing you can do until the next morning or the rain stops. The bird will roost in a tree for the night and will be hungry and more easily trapped the next morning.

When the bird eventually enters the cage, do not rush to close the door. You will only panic it if you do so. Just walk briskly to the cage, close the door and return the cage with the bird to its usual place in your home.

Wild Boy escaped at about 9 am and by 1.15 pm he was back in his cage.

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