Monday, December 22, 2014

Mint and other shamas

I spent some of the past weekend assessing my shamas and making plans regarding their breeding and care in the coming year. I also tried to take some videos and photos.

On Saturday, I hung Shogun's cage at my front porch which is one of the places in my home that is suitable to record photos and videos of my birds.

Its easy to take a good photo of Shogun at this time as he is in good form and he sings and displays.  However, its another thing to be able to capture a great photo.  Here is what I mean.

The photo below is not great but it could have been if the angle of the camera to the bird had been more central so that the white tails on both sides are visible.  The wings also need to be more spread out. If these 2 factors had been present, the photo would have been more balanced. Nevertheless, the photo does show the display and aggression of the bird.

Last Saturday, I also wanted to assess Pretty Boy's 6 months old son, DDS283, that I had named Mint.  He has just completed his molt and I transferred him from aviary to cage.

Mint did not cooperate in the photo shoot.  He seemed to have little form though he would sing on and off as in the photo below. He is also too young to react to a female shama.


When Mint did display, he was fluffy and his feathers were not tight to his body. The good thing was that, even though he seemed to have little form, he would constantly lift his tails very high, suggesting the type of display he might have when he comes into form.  The lift of Mint's tails and his out-of-form condition can be seen in the photo below.


On Sunday morning, I arranged with Michael to call at his home so that we could go together to buy froglets for our birds. I decided to bring Mint along to start his training to get used to transportation. From his performance at my home the previous day, I did not expect much from him at Michael's home.  Michael and I were both surprised.

For ease of transportation, I had put him in a small cage for the journey to Michael's home.  There, I transferred him to a larger cage.  He heard Michael's shamas and immediately began to sing and display. His unfamiliar journey by car and the first time he had been outside his home and in the presence of strange shamas that challenged him when he entered their territory, did not seem to trouble him at all.

Michael first brought out his shama, Nighthawk. This is a 7 months old son of Falcon's.  Nighthawk's cage was initially placed about 6 feet away from Mint's.  They both sang and displayed well.

Mint seems to be one of those rare shamas that (even when they are not in form), have such a strong character and fighting spirit that they will gear up to do battle when a strange shama is brought close to them.  He reminds me of his elder brother Chilli.  With such a strong character, I suppose I could train and compete him even at this very young age but I will not do this.  I intend to let him develop at his own pace so that he can fully realise his potential in due course.

This is the video of Nighthawk:

A striking feature of Nighthawk's display and, to a lesser extent, Mint's, is that they both hold their tails up in the air and wave them. Here is the video of Mint:

After Nighthawk and Mint had been singing for some time, Michael placed their cages close to each other.  Below is the video of the birds singing and displaying to each other:

Mint's tails look longer than Nighthawk in the above video but, actually, Nighthawk's tails are slightly longer and I think they substantially exceed 12 inches.  I suppose its the angle of the camera that makes Mint's tails appear longer.  Here is a photo of Nighthawk that indicates the length of his tails [Since the video, Mint's primary tails have lengthened and they may now be about the same length as Nighthawk's.  He is also in much better form than in the video - 12th January 2015.]

Michael and I are both happy with the young shamas that we have produced this year from our line-bred birds.  The shamas that were hatched this year are now in various stages of molt and we will only know how well they will turn out when they complete their molts in 1 to 2 months time.

Nevertheless, the future of our line of shamas looks promising. The videos show 2 of our very young birds that have only recently completed their molts but that surprisingly already have courage, striking display, aggression, streamlined structure, beauty and that are a joy to watch. It is not often that shamas at the very young age of 6 to 7 months are able to perform in the way that Nighthawk and Mint do.

Finally here is a video of Apache in the breeding aviary. He produces outstanding progeny but it is difficult to get chicks from him.  I will try my best to get more chicks from him next year.

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