Thursday, July 10, 2008

Befriending a Wild Shama

Aloha David,

Recently I befriended a wild Shama. She came to me one morning and sat on my truck. The following day while sitting in my truck she came and sat on the side view mirror on the driver's side. We were face to face and 'talked' to each other for a bit. Since then she comes around frequently when I'm outside and makes contact. I thought it might be nice if I could deepen this relationship and maybe provide her with a snack of some sort. From a pet store in California I purchased a 'Bag O' Bugs' insect formula but she isn't interested. I was hoping you might have a suggestion for a snack of some sort or maybe some other idea to deepen the relationship. I live on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands. My gratitude for any assistance. Mahalo, Frank

Hi Frank,

You will need to offer some form of live insects as wild birds do not readily recognise the commercially available dry food as something that can be eaten. Mealworms would be the easiest to obtain and store. Crickets are another alternative. The mealworm should be fed some oats and a slice of apple or other fruit or vegetable. No water should be offered.

To befriend a wild bird, throw one or two mealworms at a distance from you that the bird is comfortable with. As the bird gets tamer, reduce the distance. I did this with a magpie robin in my garden. The distance was gradually reduced until I could place the insect on the table in front of me and the bird would land on the table. When it was comfortable on the table, I held the insect between 2 fingers and it would trustingly hop on to my hand. Ultimately, I could hold an insect above my head and it would take the insect in flight. I befriended this bird for about 3 months before it disappeared - presumably caught by a predator or human.

Best regards,


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