Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter from Indonesia - "Batman" shama

24th January 2014

Hi David,

Been following your post for quite sometime. Lovely I must say!

My name is Ali and I'm from Singapore but living in Medan, Indonesia. Been keeping songbirds like jambul n puteh since I was a kid but have little experience in Shamas!

I bought 4 shamas here to 'keep me company'! Haha! My problem is one of the shama is in heat or what they call here 'batman'.

I don't breed so what do u think i should do. This particular shama sings as normal but when it comes to chai, it will go down to the cage n bring down its wings. It'll sing but using the soft tone. Have tried many ways as suggested by locals here but none seems to work! Appreciate if you could provide some solution worth trying!!


It always seems impossible until its done

[Reply 27th January 2014]

Hi Ali,

My experience is that the cause of shamas doing what you mention is that they have become too tame.  This happens when they are made to "play the hand" to the extent that they start to treat the hand and humans in general as competing shamas with whom they want to fight.

There are some videos on YouTube of shamas being teased with the hand.  You will see that in every case, the bird will either be silent as it aggressively pecks at the hand or it will sing softly.  Such birds are not suitable for competition.  They may sing and display but even this is usually less than other shamas. However, when they see the judge, they descend to the cage floor, spread their wings and prepare for battle.

Once the male shama has reached this level of tameness, it is difficult to cure its attitude.  I would not bother.  However, if you wish to try, you may want to discourage it from treating the hand as an opponent. You can do this, for example, by using the hand to catch the bird every time it attacks the hand.  After a while, the bird will be afraid of the hand and will not treat it as a competing shama. Be aware that doing so will reduce the bird's form and it will need some time to regain it.

Best regards,


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