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The Finster Log
Archive — December 2002
Mind The Gap
Posted on: 12/31/02, 16:02:43 | | link
I am pretty excited that my scheme to keep Peanut from climbing onto the roof of the Finsterium has worked!
He's tried to climb up three times now, all unsuccessful. When he realizes he can't reach the top, he climbs down a little and shakes his head back and forth. I think he is actually rubbing his beak along the mesh, although it's a little hard to tell. This seems to be a territorial behavior. He also shakes his head this way when he's near the Finsters.
How Do You Tell? Part 1 — Frank and Sally
Posted on: 12/30/02, 13:26:42 | | link
White-Headed Nuns, like Frank and Sally, are sexually dimorphic. That is, the males and females look different from each other. In the case of White-Headed Nuns, this difference is very small. The males have heads that are slightly whiter than the females. In the big picture, Frank is on the right. When the two birds are next to each other, I can usually tell which is which, but if they're on opposite sides of the Finsterium, I can't always tell. Of course, individual birds will vary;
both males and females will have slightly lighter or darker shades of tan on their heads. It's particularly hard to tell Frank and Sally apart when it's dark, the lights are out, and I'm trying to catch one of them. Click here for a close-up of this small photo
; Sally is in front.
That Would Be A Bad Thing
Posted on: 12/24/02, 08:56:32 | | link
When the Finsterium is wrapped for the Winter, I hang an extra strip of mesh on the side, so that when Peanut flies over he doesn't bounce off the plastic and fall to the floor. That would be a bad thing. But, he's also learned that if he climbs up the mesh, he can get to the roof of the cage. Sometimes he chews the wood, sometimes he walks all around the cage on the wood, and sometimes he hops onto the roof,
where he might play with dangerous things. He really seems to like it up there, or at least he knows I can't get him if he climbs on top. Click here to see Proud Peanut, King of the Hill.
So after losing him up there for a few minutes last night (that would be a very bad thing) I modified the mesh hangers. Click here to see the modification.
Peanut probably could climb up the string, but considering he's only climbed his cholla perch once to get to the tasty seeds, it isn't very likely. I hope.
Posted on: 12/18/02, 12:49:05 | | link
Bruce came by last night after being out of town for awhile, and Peanut was ecstatic. He "arnked" and squeaked non-stop, and couldn't wait to jump into Bruce's hand for Warm Toasties. He continued squeaking for several minutes straight. Finally, he settled down and fell asleep. But then he woke up, realized where he was, and started squeaking all over again!
I purchased Peanut from a man, and figure most of his early interactions with people were with this fellow. It isn't unusual for companion birds to prefer people of the same gender as their original caretaker. So don't think I'm jealous; it's great that Peanut likes another person besides me. But. I am so not the one.
Posted on: 12/16/02, 15:16:12 | | link
Here is proof that Frank and Tea have been on the white concrete perch together. Once again, Tea was preening, and Frank was standing on one foot. I find it remarkable that these two are sitting so closely together. But, I guess I can't really call it news
anymore. As the two dominant representatives of their species in the Finsterium, they may simply be sitting (together) on the highest spot available.
On another note: no new eggs. That's good news.
Posted on: 12/15/02, 16:10:34 | | link
Tea, Decaffeinated, and Frank are all sitting on the white concrete perch. Together. At the same time. It's like a little miracle. If I didn't have a small, green bird in my hand, I'd try to take a picture.
Posted on: 12/14/02, 15:40:17 | | link
Frank and Tea are sitting on the white concrete perch. Together. Tea is preening, and Frank is picking his toes. That's Frank, a White-Headed Nun, and Tea, a Society, sitting together on this tiny little perch. Go figure.
He's So Daring!
Posted on: 12/14/02, 08:00:45 | | link
Much to my surprise, Peanut actually climbed up on his cholla perch! To get a tasty seed, of course. And he jumped right down once he got it. I'm a little amazed I got this photo, it all happened so fast. Still. He's such a good bird!
Sally Is Molting
Posted on: 12/13/02, 08:57:37 | | link
Birds generally molt once or twice a year, usually after the breeding season. New feathers form underneath the old ones, pushing them out. Most birds don't lose all their feathers at once, since that would make them much too vulnerable to predators and disease; instead, new ones grow in as others fall out. Peanut almost always has one or two pin feathers on his head — these are the sheaths around a new, forming feather.
Of course, he depends on me to preen the feathers he can't reach himself. The Finsters, on the other hand, have each other to perform this delicate task, and they're much better at it than I am! I don't think I've ever seen a Finster with pin feathers, and except for finding more feathers on the floor of the Finsterium, I usually don't know when they're molting. The one exception is Sally.
I always know when she's molting, because she looks ragged. The close-up of her at the top of this entry (taken yesterday) doesn't even show her at her worst. The first time she went through a molt I was about ready to take her to the vet. Even now that I've seen her live through it several times, I get worried. Usually she's so beautiful.
Peanut Has An Evil Perch, Too
Posted on: 12/11/02, 15:02:41 | | link
Well, it isn't really evil
. After the experience with the Finsters, and knowing that Peanut is wary of new things, I introduced this nice cholla perch slowly. First I showed it to him a few times. Then I pushed a sunflower seed into one of the holes, and slowly put the seed near him. It didn't take Peanut long to eat the seeds, although he was wary at first. Finally, I put the perch on the roof of his house, but always with a seed or two within his reach. Click here to see Peanut on his house with the new perch.
Peanut still hasn't climbed onto the new perch, although I have started sticking the sunflower seeds higher than they are in this picture. Once I put one pretty high. He stood up on his tippy toes and tried to pull it out of the hole, but it was really stuck. He kept trying to pull it out, and finally he grabbed it with his beak, and dangled there for a few seconds. Didn't work. So then he clamped down with his beak, pulled his body up, grabbed onto the perch with his feet just long enough to pull the seed out, then he dropped down to the roof of his house and ate the seed. I wish I had a movie of that!
Posted on: 12/08/02, 14:36:51 | | link
Although I haven't been great about introducing Peanut to new people, he does have experience eating and drinking things from new containers. Spoons, bowls, small dishes, big dishes, yogurt containers, food processer bowls, mason jars, and vitamin bottle caps have all served as delivery vehicles for both water and snacks. He'll often climb down my shirt as I'm washing dishes to get a drink from whatever I've just rinsed. Lately, he's started climbing down to get a drink from my water cup after I take a drink. We really shouldn't share water containers, since there is a slim chance we could also share germs, so these get cleaned a lot. But the real downfall is that when Peanut takes a drink, especially from a new or a big container, he usually does a bit of splashing. We both get our faces cleaned!
Posted on: 12/07/02, 14:22:01 | | link
Here I am feeding the lorikeets at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I could do that all day! Thanks again to Bruce's Mom for taking and sending these pictures. Click here for a close up of the birds.
Here's another picture of lorikeets.
My Arm Is Not A Toy
Posted on: 12/06/02, 19:59:17 | | link
Despite previous events, Peanut doesn't usually walk down my arm to snuggle in my hand for Warm Toasties. But he's gotten used to being on my arm enough that long sleeves can be a problem.
This evening I was filling one of the seed towers when he flew over to my head. My right elbow was up in the air in the act of pouring, so he hopped on it. Seeds were obviously on his mind, but he was making it pretty awkward for me to do anything. After pausing for a moment to laugh, I finished pouring, let go of the seed tower, took the tub of seeds in my left hand, put it on the counter, and put the cover on the seed tower. Peanut was still on my elbow, up in the air, hoping for some seeds. I moved my right arm enough to get him to fly up to my left shoulder, where I gave him just a few from a spoon. Much later, much fuzzier, and sans sleeve, it was time for Warm Toasties.
Posted on: 12/05/02, 12:18:29 | | link
I'll make it official: The concrete perches are no longer Evil. Here you can see Tea on the white concrete perch, looking out into the Finsterium. (You can see the reflection of the camera flash on the plastic wrapper — I can still take mediocre pictures, after all!)
The Societies and the White-Headed Nuns don't usually interact with each other — that is, they don't preen each other, or sit next to each other. Unless, of course, Frank is watching Tea or Earl Grey woo the girls. But today I saw an amazing thing: Frank and Decaffeinated were sitting on the short, white concrete perch together! Who knows what might have happened if I hadn't disturbed them in my excitement to see what was going on.
Posted on: 12/04/02, 14:24:13 | | link
Tea was on the left side of the Finsterium, singing his Hunka Hunka Burning Love Song, and dancing his Hunka Hunka Burning Love Dance, to Goober. Frank was on the perch next to Tea, watching. Frank kept scooting closer to Tea, who scooted closer to Goober, who scooted over on the perch, and over again, until finally she ran out of perch, and hopped onto the short perch (3 1/2 inches) of the closest nest box. Tea joined her, but since the perch is so short, Frank couldn't follow, even though it looked like he wanted to. A few minutes later, the three birds repeated the exact dance, but this time on the right side of the Finsterium. The singing, the dancing, the scooting, the hopping, all of it. Mirror images.
Since there were no more eggs in the hospital cage or the Finsterium, and since both Darjeeling and Decaffeinated seem fine, I put them back into the Big House today. Here's hoping there are no more eggs.
Frank Likes The Evil Perch, and Wrappers
Posted on: 12/03/02, 19:27:25 | | link
Frank spent quite a bit of time on the Evil perch this morning. He faced the Finsterium and looked around, he preened a bit, he sang the first part of his Hunka Hunka Burning Love song, and he sat on one foot — all signs that he feels comfortable there. This means those long toenails have a good chance at getting trimmed. Click here for a bigger version of Frank on the Evil perch.
I guess I can go back to calling these concrete
perches. No Evil things here!
It is well into winter here in Michigan, so after letting it air out for a couple of days, I finally wrapped the back and sides of the Finsterium in clear plastic. This stuff is sold by the yard at fabric stores, I think for turning into tablecloths. Apart from the plastic smell, it works very well to keep drafts out of the cage. You'll be glad to know that I won't be able to take mediocre photographs of the Finsters until the Spring.
The Finsters don't seem to notice the plastic once it's up, but the process of wrapping the Finsterium means moving it, and walking around it, so the birds usually get upset, and fly around a lot. Decaffeinated seemed particularly upset, and hung from the side of the cage a couple of times by one foot. I couldn't tell if she was getting stuck, or if she wanted to hang that way, but after the second time I decided to try to catch her. Since I could
catch her, she probably was getting stuck. She seemed okay, just a little spooked, but to be sure, I popped her into the hospital cage. This will give her a rest from the Big House, me a chance to watch her carefully, and Darjeeling a companion. I won't catch either of them for doses of calcium, the hospital cage is so small they would get very upset (especially if I caught the wrong one), but I'll put calcium in the water.
Yet Another Egg
Posted on: 12/02/02, 11:51:35 | | link
This one was laid early yesterday evening, had a soft shell, and was a little small. Luckily, Bruce-with-the-long-arms was handy, so he caught Darjeeling (and received the distinct pleasure of having Earl Grey land on his head), I put two or three drops of straight liquid calcium on her beak, checked her toenails, and popped her into the hospital cage. I caught her again this morning for another dose of straight calcium, and I'll do the same tonight.
I'm pretty sure that Darjeeling has been laying the eggs. First, because she had an egg-laying problem a few months ago; and second, because I saw her lay one the other day. By keeping her in the hospital cage for a few days, I can easily give her increased amounts of calcium, and give her enough of an environmental change to stop (maybe) her current laying phase. Also, if an egg appears in the Finsterium while she's out, I'll know that she's not the only one laying eggs.
I Am Not The One
Posted on: 12/01/02, 15:09:11 | | link
I was sitting on the couch last night with Peanut on my shoulder. It was just about time for Warm Toasties. Peanut started to climb down my shoulder to my hand — but no. He climbed in a half circle down my chest back up to my other shoulder. You see, Bruce was over. Peanut squeaked, he paced, he leaned waaaaaay over toward Bruce, better known as The Big Sweaty Hand, and he practically leaped into said hand when it was offered. When Bruce is over, and it's time for Warm Toasties, I am not the one.
Right now, Peanut is on my shoulder. He is pacing, he's squeaking, he's climbing in little half circles from shoulder to shoulder, both along my front and my back. It's time for dinner, don't you know.
Woops! He just flew a half circle around the room, miraculously landing safely in a proffered hand. Phew! It's time for dinner!