Friday, June 6, 2008

Pairing Shamas

written April 10, 2007

Dear Magic Devil,

You were at my home last Sunday with your shama. It was performing well and I made a video of it.

You had expressed interest in breeding shamas and while you were at my home, I decided to pair Icon with Charcoal’s sister (R&D39). I caught her with a net and almost immediately transferred her to my indoor aviary which housed Icon. Your surprised exclamation was caught on the video that I was recording of your shama. I had no time to remind you that the video was running and your exclamation is now recorded for posterity.('Smile') The video is at page 39 of Video of Quest.

I then placed a nest-box in the aviary and nesting material on the aviary floor. We sat on the sofa in my living room and watched the pair. We saw that both birds were initially tense. After a few moments, Icon flared his wings and pecked at the female. She flew away but I observed to you that she had not flown away in panic as could be seen from her controlled flight to the opposite side of the aviary. This continued for a few minutes.

I mentioned that if she had flown away in panic, I would have immediately removed her as this would indicate that she was not prepared to accept the male. You had asked when I would know that the pair is compatible and I had replied that this should become evident within the half hour. I said that I was waiting for the male to inspect the nest-box and if he did so, it would indicate that he was interested in the female.

After a while, it was the female that flew to the nest-box. I had commented that this was a good sign as a shama will only visit the nest-box if it is in breeding condition. She then entered the nest-box and I had noted that you should observe that when she eventually emerged from the nest-box she would appear more confident in the presence of the male. This was so as you noted. After a while, Icon also visited the nest-box and entered it. I said that this confirmed that the pair was compatible and they could safely be left together.

In the afternoon, I sent a message to you that the female had started nest building but she did so casually and not urgently. This was good as I had earlier mentioned that if the female urgently builds the nest, it is an indication that she is over-ready and the first batch of eggs would likely be laid the following day and would be infertile. She continued building the nest yesterday.

You had enquired how I would know for sure if the pair is compatible. I had replied that from my experience, the above actions of the pair showed that they were happy with each other and I was sure that Icon would not kill the female. I also said that the birds would roost close to each other once they had mated. Below is a photo that I took after I got home from work last night. It shows Icon and the female roosting within 6” of each other one day after they were paired.

Best regards,


ps: Hope you don't mind the leg pulling.

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