The excitement of the day got us all up pretty early, but I decided to give the "original" Finsters a leisurely morning, so they could have a nice, normal breakfast before the new kids moved in.
At about 8:30 I took the food dish and bird bath out of the hospital cage. Then, with a string tied to the top of the cage door so we could open it easily, Bruce held the hospital cage up to the opened bottom door of the Finsterium, and we waited for the "new" Finsters to move in.
No takers. We jostled the hospital cage a little. Nothing. We knocked on the box a few times. Nothing. Despite the snacks and fresh water in plain sight, none of the birds overcame their fear of new things to take a chance. After about ten minutes of waiting we put the hospital cage back on the bookcase and I started catching birds by hand. It was actually harder than you'd think to catch nine birds in a small box. Plus, the little buggers squirmed like the dickens in my hand, nothing like the calm pudgy Societies that I've gotten used to (although Frank has been known to bite from time
). But I caught three by about nine — two Spice finches and the Spice/Society hybrid — and popped them into the Finsterium.
Pandemonium ensued. No, worse than pandemonium. Pandelerium
ensued. Pandemonium, Pandelerium, Flutterpations, Finstipations, and outright Birdlam ensued. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! Each new bird would flap wildly from one end of the Finsterium to the other, crashing into each side, again and again, bashing and clinging to the cage walls. All of this set off the "original" Finsters, who flapped and crashed around themselves. Frank, shy and flighty under normal circumstances, was particularly upset, and spent more time freaked out, flapping around and clutching the walls than I can ever remember. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
Bruce and I were ready to catch the new intruders (as if) and get them the hell away from our sweet, calm Finsters. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! We'd made a terrible, horrible mistake, and would just give those nasty new monster birds back to Emma, we were sure she'd understand.
But, after a few more minutes, all the Finsters almost barely started to calm down, so we tried again. Catching birds by hand was too hard, so we put the hospital cage on top of a couple of boxes, taped the string down to keep the door open, and waited. With a couple of familiar friends already in the Finsterium, they slowly started coming out, one by one.
Each time a new bird went into the Finsterium, it would flap around like a crazy thing, bouncing into walls, back and forth, setting off all the other birds. And then after a bit everyone would start to settle down. As each new bird came in the crazy flapping lessened a bit, I suppose because they recognized the other new birds. Bruce finally cajoled the last bird out of the hospital cage a little after 10:30. I moved the hospital cage and boxes (much to Peanut's disappointment) and we all settled down to watch.
Earl Grey, Darjeeling and Goober took to the new Society finches fairly well, probably because they recognized them as birds
. Even so, there were a few hours where, whenever a "new" bird came close to an "original" bird, both birds (and any birds nearby) would partake of some crazy flapping, and would then set off even more crazy flapping when they landed. The "original" birds would try to stick together, and the "new" birds would try to stick together, all the time interrupted by the crazy flapping when anybody moved.
Food won out first. The hybrid climbed cautiously down the back wall — with several stops, starts, and start-overs — until he could reach the lettuce leaf. First, he tried to fly off with it, but since it was too big (it's a whole leaf
, buddy!), he finally clung to the wall and ate the pieces he was able to tear off. Then a Spice finch climbed cautiously down the back wall, until it could reach the hybrid, and steal bits of lettuce from his beak. Slowly all the birds got up enough courage to eat, "new" birds still mostly sticking together, "original" birds sticking together, with the new Societies occasionally forming a social bridge between the groups, still with the crazy flapping but slowly — slowly — everyone getting a little less likely to get startled.
At 11:06 the new Society hen started the First Bath Event, possibly triggered by the sound of my washing dishes. The new Society male joined her, and Earl Grey and occasionally Frank sat near enough to catch some splashes. This activity triggered all the Spice finches, and the hybrid, to have at it with a grand bath. I would love to get this on film sometime. A proper bath with fresh, clean water, and a dish big enough for three or four birds to jump in at one time is a Joyous Thing (With The Wetness Everywhere). Once all the new birds got out of the way, Frank and the original Societies got their turn. The entire First Bath Event lasted a little over ten minutes.
The Second Bath Event, which required me re-filling the water dish from the Wetness Everywhere the first time, began at 3:50, was started — and ended — by the "original" Finsters, and lasted more than 15 minutes. This bodes well for my alleged allergies.
Still, despite the eating and the bathing and the slow lessening of the crazy flapping, there were enough flutterpations to make me worried about the evening. Frank (on top), and Earl Grey, Darjeeling and Goober (inside), made it to their usual nest box — the third from the right — for a brief afternoon nap. But the hybrid and Spice finches are wall-clingers, and were showing a clear preference for the top of that back wall, which would chase Frank off, even if the three inside felt safe enough to stay.
These are The Finsters
, you understand. The softest, sweetest little things, ever. Ever. And I'd hate to be responsible for introducing new birds that turned out to be Devil Spawn. (Not that I have anything against the new Finsters, who — I am sure
— are sweet and soft in their own right, and will turn out to be lovely once we get to know them.) (But still.)
The Finsterium light went out at 8:13 pm, which of course startled all the new birds. But night is night, and they all started settling down, with only a bit of crazy flapping from time to time. By 8:50 things were pretty quiet. The "original" Finsters in and on their proper nest box (phew!), four Spices on top of the third nest box from the left, and all the rest crowded near the back of the perch on the right. A truce, happy or no, was made. Phew.
At about 11:20 there was a little thud from the Finsterium. I peeked over and discovered that the new male Society had fallen off the perch. I'm sure he meant to do that. After a minute or so he flew back up to the other birds, and all seemed well.