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The Finster Log
Archive — August 2004
Frank's Miraculous Miracle
Posted on: 08/27/04, 09:39:44 | | link
One year, five months, and five days after after the introduction of the Evil Plastic Nest Box
; and eight months and 15 days after he was first brave enough
to perch on the entry
of the Evil Box — Frank went inside.
Frank. Went. Inside. The. Plastic. Evil. Nest. Box.
He was completely inside that box. Hidden. Completely. Inside. Calmly snacking on millet. And before you go thinking that I'm a little crazy for getting so excited, remember this:
In the six years, four months and 23 days I have lived with Frank, I have never seen him inside a nest box.
Ever. Much less an evil
Which suggests that millet spray for birds might be a little more like crack is for humans than I previously thought.
Posted on: 08/16/04, 06:42:00 | | link
Lately, I've been calling Earl Grey "Tea."
"What a beautiful song that is, Tea," I'll say while Earl Grey is singing his Hunka Hunka Burning Love song, and dancing his Hunka Hunka Burning Love dance. Or, "It's okay, Tea, I'm not coming in to get you," I'll say as I open the cage door to put fresh poop paper in. Soon it will be, "Please don't do that, Tea" as Earl Grey pecks my eyes out for calling him "Tea" all the time.
I don't do this on purpose, I just miss Tea. Hopefully I'll get out of the habit before I need an eye patch.
New Nest Boxes
Posted on: 08/15/04, 17:20:46 | | link
The Finsters got a new set of nest boxes! Peanut got to check them out first, since they were hanging on the outside of the Finsterium until Bruce (with the long arms) had a chance to put them in. Click here for a bigger picture with Peanut
and the four new boxes; you'll notice that the one on top isn't like the other three "normal" nests made out of brown "kraft paper" boxes. Instead, it's another of those Italian nest boxes that you can throw into the dishwasher, if only you had one. But this one is brown, not white
like the original one. Imagine my surprise when I opened the packing material!
This provides the opportunity to conduct a scientific experiment: Dynamics of New Residence Usage Among
Lonchura striata (domesticated form) and
Lonchura maja, and The Effects of Evil: Is Color or Substance the Determining Factor?
As you can see, the resident forpus passerinus
("Little Green Finster Head") does not seem to think that the New Plastic Nest Box is Evil. (Click here to see a bigger photo
.) In fact, when a Finster Attraction Device — in this case, a sunflower seed — was placed on the top of the box, the forpus passerinus
subject climbed right up to eat it so quickly that there wasn't enough time to bring out the camera to record the event. Unfortunately, this experiment cannot be considered validation for the so-called "Color is Evil" theory, since the same experiment was not carried out with the original white box, so that comparison can't be made. Nevertheless, the results suggest at the least that if
the new brown plastic box is Evil — whatever the cause — its nefarious character can be overcome by the proper placement of the appropriate Attraction Device.
At any rate, the real test is with the Finsters. Now, whenever the Finsterium gets a really big cleaning, I change out all the nest boxes while I'm at it. After a day in a holding cage, the Finsters don't seem to care that all the boxes are clean and new. But remember the Finstipations
when all the nest boxes got changed out without the distraction of the big cleaning? It took hours for them to settle in. And they took hours to calm down after I first put the white Evil
box in. This time I had a trick up my sleeve: I only changed out four of six boxes. (Actually, it wasn't a trick; I ran out of hot glue.) This left the two boxes on either end dirty and familiar. As it turns out, these boxes became Places of Refuge during the four to six hours it took for the Finsters to feel safe with all the other new boxes. When it came time for bed, the Societies slept in their usual box, and Frank slept on top.
The brown plastic box didn't seem to cause them any more flutterpations than the new kraft paper boxes. On the other hand, the birds have been on and sometimes in
the normal boxes already, but I haven't seen them touch the brown platic box. And they probably never will. Guess I'll have to add a Finster Attraction Device.
You'll notice I don't have photos of the Finsters not going on the brown plastic box yet. For now, you can click here for a bigger version of Peanut
with the normal box.
Darjeeling Had An Adventure, Too
Posted on: 08/07/04, 12:00:16 | | link
In case you were wondering, the 1-inch opening left when you take the tray out of the hospital cage is plenty big enough
for a Society finch to slip out of. I discovered this the other week when Darjeeling, tired of sitting all alone, waiting for a nonexistent egg to pop out, got bored and decided to explore the world around her. I came back to the office, clean tray in hand, and discovered her just as she slipped out. Luckily, I was a little less startled than she was, and managed to grab her (oh so gently) before she was able to fly off into the living room toward the light and crash into the window.
[As a total aside, in case anyone was wondering why I haven't cleaned the windows in my apartment for, um, years maybe, it's so that small birds will be a little less likely to crash into them and break their necks. Really.]
After that adventure, I started putting a stick in front of the opening when I took the tray out to clean it. You can see the stick, and a much bigger and better picture of Darjeeling by clicking here
Darjeeling is doing pretty well. Her malady remains. The feathers on her butt are still a mess, and something about the tumor (we'll assume it's a tumor) is bothering her left leg; she's plucked that thigh pretty clean trying to "fix" whatever is going on. But several times I've seen her fly from the floor to the top of a nest box — some 3 1/2 feet — in one go
. So she isn't doing too poorly now. And she's very pretty!
Two Adventures Are Better Than One
Posted on: 08/06/04, 17:32:14 | | link
The painting guy
was back today, wandering around the building so much that no spot was safe
(except [thankfully] the bathroom). But this time I was (almost) prepared so (at least) saw
Peanut take off and could run after him - and besides, he landed successfully on the side of the Finsterium.
Then, while I was taking off the daily (or, now that there are only four Finsters, the every other daily - but that's a different story) layer of paper from the Finsterium floor, Peanut flew right inside and landed on a perch!
This was only the third time he's done that, which is good, because his Mighty Beak Of Biting is totally capable of chomping the Finster's toes off. They know it, too, and got all Finstipated. Peanut was very proud of himself, sitting on their perch, and then I was very proud of him, when he stepped right up onto my hand. All the birds have gone to bed now, after all the excitement.
They're Called Fingers
Posted on: 08/06/04, 16:22:59 | | link
Seed balls are tasty, but by far the tastiest part of the seed ball is the part closest to my fingers. And in his squeaky, seedy zeal Peanut sometimes misses.
Posted on: 08/04/04, 15:28:23 | | link
Darjeeling never laid an egg. Her vent area is still messy, although I've seen at least one good-looking poop since she's been back in the Finsterium. She isn't getting around too well, although part of that is caused by a broken back toe – it's an old injury, but I only noticed it when she was in the hospital cage this past week. I've put an extra perch in the cage, and since then she's been less likely to hang onto the wall and sort of flutter-and-climb up it to get to a nest box. I'll add more perches, or maybe lower nest boxes, if she looks like she needs it. I've also noticed her landing in
the water dish to take a drink, rather than landing on the edge. But since landing in the dish might help clean up her vent area a bit, I'm not worried about that. As far as I can tell, she doesn't miss Tea.
Earl Grey seemed upset when Bruce first took Tea out of the Finsterium - he kept up a pretty steady stream of chirps. The vocalization wasn't the Society's typical alarm call: loud, sharp, and accompanied by quick flaps of the wings. It was quieter, and the chirps were closer together. He kept that up for ten or fifteen minutes, and then chirped like that again a few times during that day, and then occasionally the day or two after. Safe to say that Earl Grey misses Tea - who was the "alpha" male in the group, and the dad. Now, Earl Grey has always been good at Defending the Realm
, but since Tea died he seems much more likely to sit in the opening of the nest box for so long that the other Finsters start complaining, and poking at the back of his head with their beaks. Pretty funny. He's also still singing his Hunka Hunka Burning Love song, and dancing his Hunka Hunka Burning Love dance, which is a good sign.
I can't tell if Goober misses Tea, although the day he died she spent quite a bit of time being Queen of both seed towers.
It's likely that Frank misses Tea, since they often spent time together on the white concrete perch, and Frank often poked his beak into Tea's Hunka Hunka Burning Love song and dance. I'm concerned, since Frank already lost Sally. But so far he's still singing his Hunka Hunka Burning Love song, sleeping on top of the box the Societies sleep in, and flying down to the floor to eat with the other birds. Frank has definitely noticed Darjeeling's infirmity: in her efforts to get around she often ends up on top of the nest box he sometimes uses during the day. Since she's less mobile than he is, she usually wins.
Peanut doesn't seem to notice any changes.
The humans in the house are a bit down in the dumps. I got a sympathy card
from the vet, which I still can't read without tearing up. Bruce hates to see the Finsterium so empty. We saw the breeder that sold us Tea (and Chocolate and Biker Chick and Bambi) at the bird show on Sunday, and she was impressed that Tea lived to be 7 1/2 years old. She's going off to grad school, so will be selling most of her birds. I'll call her in a day or two to see if she has any finches left.
Faster Than A Speeding Bullet
Posted on: 08/03/04, 20:07:54 | | link
A very nice fellow was around the apartment building today to powerwash the place in anticipation of painting. He was washing the back of the building, which is where the office is. I was just thinking "I'd better move Peanut back into the living room" when he started right outside the window, and suddenly Peanut was gone.
Bruce and I hunted everywhere in the office, behind the 17 computers, on the floor, under everything. We didn't seen him fly anywhere, we didn't hear him fly anywhere, there were no peeps or squawks. But he had completely disappeared. We were so looking for a needle in a hastack, gingerly moving anything in case we squashed him. ("Is he under my chair?" "No...is he under my chair?" "No.")
After about 15 minutes of pure panic, Bruce decided to think like a bird, and found him behind one of the couches in the living room - don't worry, there's a lot of room back there. Peanut had a ginormous dust bunny on the top of his head, but looked okay otherwise. He stayed on my shoulder for about half an hour, but finally started preening, and eventually flew home.
There's one adventure I'd rather not repeat. Ever.