Aviculture
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Lovebird BIRD Day Log 11-15

DAY 11, Mar 6, 2017 MONDAY

  • Still hopeful everyday, I did my check and tried to see if there are any eggs laid. Still none.
  • I noticed that over the weekend, the new water dispenser I bought for them did not seem to lose any water content aside from the evaporation. This looks like an experiment opportunity to see if they would rather drink from the DIY water container I made for them. I removed that container and just left the water dispenser. Note that I’ve mounted across their swing perch, just at its level so that it’s within their line of vision.
  • The fact that their nesting material was removed from their nestbox, I got really bothered. After a few readings I found out that adding of freshly chewed strips of stalks was actually for humidity controlling! Brilliant birds! They were making the nestbox conditions more to their liking! This is new information for me.
  • After learning about their humidity controlling activities, I decided to stock up fresh moringa stalks and leaves for them to chew on.
  • I was also able to read somewhere that the nestbox  opening has to have some kind of perch they can go to just before they enter so I readjusted their immobile perch and mounted it sideways so that it stretches from the nestbox opening to the side of the cage. I think they preferred this because they comfortably move from one end to another of the cage now with ease in entering the nestbox. They walk through the perch insead of flying out of the nestbox.
  • AVICULTURE 101: It’s easier to clean their cage thoroughly in the evening while they’re asleep because there’s no panic or fluttering.

DAY 12, Mar 7, 2017 TUESDAY

  • The idea of using only the water dispenser showed clearly that they were not used to such water dispensing to get their water supply. Eventually I ended up providing the original water container which actually got them drinking a lot of water. AVICULTURE 101: Just because you think you have a brilliant device or accessory for your birds, doesn’t mean they will use it as it is. Birds often have a mind of their own.
  • Ever so curious of their activities in the cage while I was away, I decided to mount my Sony A6000 in the opposite end of the cage across the nest box. Since I have remote access to the camera, I can view their activities in real time from outside the room.
  • The camera, although did not pose as a threat to the birds, was not something they were curious enough to peck around and check-out. They stayed a safe distance from it but were comfortable enough to feed and even preen each other.
  • The wide-angle of the camera gave me a nice view of the whole cage while maintaining a good distance from the birds. Oh this set-up really makes me want to just get a surveillance camera that I can use for the cage.
  • I have also decided to remove the folder cover which I used to cover one corner of the cage. African lovebirds really do like their sun after all.
  • As a bird owner, there is that itch to just keep rearranging inside the cage and I really need to control myself to just focus on what is necessary. The adjusting of the water dispenser to the bottom of the cage was necessary. I hope they will one day actually drink from it. I’ll give it time.
  • The Great Escape:
    • Coming home to my birds, I was going to do my routine check on them and their condition, and of course, the possibility of eggs but lo and behold: I SPOT THE OPEN HOLE ON THE SIDE OF MY CAGE. I’m talking about that hole which you can use as the opening to breeding boxes. The same whole I used when I mounted my Sony A6000 to take pictures of the cage interior. Oh Johnn you are an idiot.
    • The worst thing is, my room’s door is open and so I have the whole house to find them. After a few minutes of panic and just slamming around and letting my emotions run wild, I realised I needed to be smart with this.
    • If I remember anything about my previous experiences with Psittacines, they have a tendency to go to corners and the highest possible area. I started in my room and scanned around and just as I suspected, the two lovebirds were on top of my curtains in the room.
    •  A little coaxing with a towel and in a few attempts I got the female and placed her in the cage. The male was a bit more persistent and a flew into the CR. While fluttering around the CR the cock eventually got too tired and accidentally landed on my arm. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I EVER HAD HIM PERCH ON ME! You can imagine how excited this made me.
    • I almost made it to bringing him to the cage but just at the last second, he flew away again. Eventually a towel grab got him and I placed him back in the cage where the two hungrily ate the seeds and drank from the water. AVICULTURE 101: An escaped bird is most likely hungry, thirsty or exhausted.
  • Observations of an escapee Cage-raised lovebird:
    • Incapable of distant flight – when they tried to fly from one end of the room to another, their flapping felt weak and slow, it seemed like a struggle to even get through around 10 feet of distance (approximately 3m).
    • Poor flight control, mere straight direction flying – as opposed to freeflight birds I have observed, they had no curves or dives in their flight, They couldn’t even switch direction in mid-flight
    • Poor landing control – when they landed it almost felt like a crash landing rather than a gentle stepping on the nearest perch they can find. Sometimes they’d hit the wall and come falling down.
    • Easily tired and exhausted – only three to four flights and they seem like they don’t want to fly anymore.
  • Just when I thought things were going to be uneventful and boring, an unexpected escape and a VERY important lesson was learned today. But seeing their inability to fly makes me wonder: “Should I give them flight time everyday?”

DAY 13, Mar 8, 2017 WEDNESDAY

  • Gave them freeflight time, and once again I noted their tired flight and only going up direction with no other flight direction
  • Here’s a scenario of what might be going in their heads as birds when flying in a huge space.
    • What we think they think: “Look at me Im so smart flying all the way up to avoid human reach!”
    • What they really are thinking: “OMG what in the world is this large space? How can I go down? I do I control these wings?! Who cares I’m panic flying!”
  • AVICULTURE 101: When you freeflight your birds immediately or when you set them free, you are presenting them to danger. Freeflight should be gradual and learned incrementally. This is why you do not “FREE” pet birds into the wild.
  • Remember when I said that there is that tendency to spend a little more when you have a new pet? Well it happened for me:
    • Bought a heavier food bowl – I need it to be heavy enough that they don’t push it around
    • Bought a washing tray – more like a puppy bowl which was shallow enough that they can step on it and use it as a bird bath
    • Bought an IP camera: – because I wanna know how they’re doing 24/7 Real-time
      • Considerations to make when getting the camera:
        • Is it portable
        • Does it need a power supply/outlet  or can it run on USB-power
        • Can it fit in the cage
        • Can you easily mount it on the cage
        • How’s the wi-fi range
        • Is it indoor or outdoor (you wanna make sure it won’t easily get ruined in certain conditions)
        • Is the shape threatening to the birds
  • Checked the nest box, nesting material is in the box again. Are they finally nesting or is it just a humidity thing they are adjusting?

DAY 14, Mar 9, 2017 THURSDAY

  • Okay,  so today was going to be the day I will try out the IP Camera I bought from CD-R King. It’s amazing how technology today simplifies remote access. And in a mobile-first era, you even have ready to work mobile apps to further make the surveillance process a conveniently portable function.
  • Firstly, I had to move the cage much closer to the router. Our walls at home are quite thick (I presume this to be a reason for weak wi-fi in my room) so the IP cam can only get signal if closer to the door of my room. Then when the signal picked up, I checked everything else: water, food, and all cage sides before leaving the birds. Oh and I also closed the windows because today felt like a very cold day what with the rain and all.
  • It was nice to see them every now and then and guess what I saw most of the time I was observing them through the camera: GROOMING. I think these birds spend almost the entire day just grooming and grooming and grooming!
  • Sadly I don’t think they used the water tray for bathing. I think they will most likely use it when they are feeling hot  , and these days the weather has been quite cold. I can’t assume though, they probably use it when I’m not watching.
  • When I got home I realised that I can’t keep cleaning up the poop they leave on the floor area around the cage so I structured a floor cover that hopefully will catch the poop that falls off from the cage.
  • Because my cage stand has wheels, this makes it convenient for me to move the cage closer to the window at night.

DAY 15, Mar 10, 2017 FRIDAY

  • I’ve already given up doing the the whole “feed them only when they are hungry” routine. I can’t go home before the sun sets and I hate the idea of them going to be hungry.  So I always fill their food tray good for a whole day’s feeding. I also believe that doing so may present an environment that feels like food is abundant and therefore makes it a good breeding environment.
  • The food bowl I bought for them was a heavy one and was much better than the boxed plastic food tray I used. Its curved shape allowed easier blowing off of seed husks and this made it easier for me to manage rather than an edged container.
  • Youtube videos also taught me one thing I did not consider before: Floor-lining for the nestbox. I should have done this before so I could easily clean-off the nestbox when the chicks start coming in. This will prevent the stench of bird poop from piling up.
  • I wonder if my room is smelling of bird poop or not. I can’t smell anything and I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve gotten used to their smell.

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