I had not been keen on entering Apache and Sky Hawk. Apache had been singing less and less at home. I guessed that he was going to have his annual molt soon and I was not sure that he would be able to perform on a decent level.
As regards Sky Hawk, in December 2010, we had paired him with a female in the hope of getting chicks before the female entered her annual molt. She had built a nest but then she had molted and we separated the pair. I intended to pair him with another female but the competition came up and Michael suggested that we enter him and Apache although the birds were not in their best form.
Shama singing competitions in Singapore used to be held over 4 rounds of 1/2 an hour each. This was too tiring for the birds and they did not display and sing their best in the 4th round.
Nowadays, shama competitions are usually held over 3 rounds of ½ an hour each. Three judges assess, in rotation, 1/3 of the birds in each round. The average marks decide the winners and the losers.
Results of the Final Round
Apache was 6th in the 21st November 2010 competition, 3rd one week later in the 28th November 2010 competition (when his son Helmet was 6th) and joint champion yesterday. He has improved as he has got used to competition conditions. His continuous progress confirms that he not only has the qualities of a top competitor but also, and just as important, that the methods that we used in preparing our birds for competition are along the right lines.
One of these experts recently also advised in the Malaysian Shama Forum that shamas bred in small aviaries lack character. G-- knows on what he based his declaration. Perhaps it was his own limited experience with the captive breeding of his own birds.
The captive-breds with long tails showed yesterday that even when there is the stress of a final round, they can still do well. In fact, Apache (with 12” tails) was probably displaying better than the other birds in the final round. Sky Hawk’s tails well exceed 13”.
As suspected, Apache is starting to molt and he will be transferred to an outdoor aviary. He should be ready for competition around August this year if we do not breed him. We may be tempted to do so, though, as his offspring have good song and exceptional courage. We have not decided if we will breed Sky Hawk or still enter him for future competitions.
We have other birds that we could try out for competition. Amongst them is my favourite shama, Pretty Boy, who completed his annual molt recently. His primary tails are about 15". We would also like to give our other shamas a chance at competition, including 2 of Apache's other sons.