Sunday, January 11, 2009

Juveniles from 2008

Today I met my friend Reddy. The last time I saw him was when he called at my home to introduce his friend Kevin to me. This was in mid-September last year, shortly after I mentioned on my blog that I had some juvenile shamas for sale. When they visited, the only juvenile that I had in a cage and ready for sale was DDS216. There were 2 other juveniles that I was considering selling but they were still in the aviary. 216 is Icon’s son. Kevin took him.

About a week or so later, I got a call from Reddy who mentioned that he was also interested in taking one of my juveniles. He visited with Kevin on a Saturday when Jeffrey Low was also visiting. I had taken out 2 juveniles from their aviaries in preparation for the visit.

Reddy and Kevin requested Jeffrey and I to assess the 2 juveniles. We both recommended 152 as he had a strong character with eye-catching display, lifting his tails to 90 degrees or more. In comparison with 216, the latter had 6” juvenile tails which were soft and curved. 152’s tails were slightly shorter at 5.75” and also a little stiffer.

I said between 152 and the other juvenile, I preferred 152 for its better display and stronger character. Jeffrey also thought so. Regarding the tail lengths, I said that Reddy should not bother too much about the difference between 216 and 152 as a juvenile male with tails of about 5.75” that I had given to my friend William in 2007 had had 12½” tails after its first molt from juvenile. Jeffrey added that he himself was not much concerned about getting the juvenile with the longest tails as he would think that even the juveniles with the shortest tails could be expected to have tails of at least 10” after the first molt. He noted that he had earlier chosen DDS207 although his juvenile tails were only 4½”. Reddy took 152.

Reddy told me today that Kevin and he are both extremely pleased with their birds. 216 has completed his molt. As expected he has long, soft, curved tails which are about 13” to 13½”. This is exceptionally long for a first molt and the tails may eventually well be more than 16” after the third molt. In his first outing to a shama gathering recently, he had sung and displayed and Kevin had received an unsolicited offer for him that was about 70% more than the price he had paid. Kevin was not interested in selling. I am sure he could obtain a much better price if he wants to part with 216.

Reddy’s 152 is still molting. His tails are presently about 3”. Reddy says that he is very aggressive even during the molt and tends to display along the perch when he hears Reddy’s other shama singing even though it is out of sight. I cautioned that 152 should be kept isolated from other shamas during the molt. Reddy assured that he was doing this and that his other shama was some distance away from 152.

I am often asked questions about tail length. It usually takes the form of “If my juvenile’s tails are xxx” long, how long are they likely to be after the first molt?” It’s almost impossible to tell with wild-caught birds. For instance, a wild-caught juvenile with tails of 5.75” that I bought turned out to have only 7” tails after the first molt. For captive-bred birds which have (amongst other features) been selectively bred for long tails, it is much easier to predict potential tail length. For example, Jeffrey’s DDS207 recently completed its first molt and its replacement tails are about 11” whereas its juvenile tails were only 4½”.

I would like to end by apologizing to those who have written to me recently with requests to purchase my birds and who have not received a reply from me. I thank you for your interest and regret that I presently have no birds for sale. I will keep your contact numbers and let you know if I have anything available in future.

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