Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Leonard gets a Pedicure

Yesterday we talked in general about the Spice Finch.  Now, let's talk about Leonard. 

Leonard, a Spice Finch,  lives with Pearl, a Society Finch.  (Interesting tidbit:  both Spice and Society finches are not dimorphic.  In other words, it's hard to tell males from females because they look very similar.)

Pearl and Leonard get along fine.  Better than fine- they are pals- evidenced by the fact that they groom each other, frequently sit close together when perching, and at night they sleep nestled together in their grit cup.

Leonard and Pearl
One of the necessary husbandry chores required when keeping finches is periodically trimming their nails.  While it is pretty easy to trim a bird's nails, it is not without its challenges. 
If the bird has light colored nails, the quick is visible, which helps a great deal in avoiding cutting it.  If you do cut the quick, the bleeding is rarely severe enough to endanger the bird.  Furthermore, dipping the injured nail in a clump of corn starch is effective at stopping the bleeding almost immediately.
Birds don't usually hold still to get their nails trimmed.  You have to hold them still.  
My method for trimming nails is to do it in the cage.  That way if the bird escapes your hold, he can be easily re caught and the trimming continued.  Some cages have multiple small doors whereby you can put one arm in one door and one arm through the other, your hands meet inside the cage.  You hold the bird with one hand and clipper in the other.  The job can be done in cages with larger doors too.  For that, you shove your arms in the cage and press your torso against the door opening to block the exit.  The cage method is soothing to me because I worry about gripping the bird too hard and crushing his delicate bones, therefore my hold on the bird is very light, thus birds escape my grip with regularity.  Happily, with the bird safely in a cage, when he slips out of my grasp he is contained- not flying about the room into whirling ceiling fan blades. 
Which brings us back to Leonard.  A few weeks ago, I trimmed Leonard's nails.  He has sort of beige nails but with good light and reading glasses, the quick can be seen.  There I was holding Leonard gently in the palm of my left hand, with one of his legs between my left thumb and pinkie finger.  Right hand wielded the clippers (There are scissors style bird nail clippers available. I prefer people  nail clippers as they are shorter which I find makes it easier to control the aim of the blade).  Snip snip.  So far so good.  Then Leonard squirmed out of my hand.  He fled to the far corner of the cage. To my dismay, lying in my left hand were his tail feathers!  So much for my light touch. 
There's good news, though.  It's been about 3 weeks since Leonard's de tailing.  The picture above was taken a few days ago. You'll notice he has tail feathers!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spice Finch

Lonchura punctulata, AKA Nutmeg Finch, scaly breasted munia, spotted munia, or Spice Finch is about 4 and 3/4 inches long.  They have a white or lighter coloration on their bellies with brown or reddish brown on the head and wings. 

The wild Spice Finch is found in grassy/weedy areas in Ceylon, India, Indochina, Southern China, Formosa, Luzon, Palawan, Malaysia, Java, Bali, Celebes, Sumatra...
 Spice Finches  live in small groups sometimes with other Lonchura species such as the Lonchura striata, or Society Finch (the white bird pictured above).
Spice finches eat grass seeds off the ground and maturing rice kernels directly off the plants.  In captivity, Spice Finches eat millet, assorted finch seed mixes, greens, meal worms, eggfood.  (Eggfood is available commercially usually in biscuit form.  Many bird keepers make their own eggfood:  hard boiled chicken egg yolk and just about any cooked grain, mash it with a fork and serve.)
Spice Finch pairs nest apartment style in bushes.  Nest material consists of grass, straw and bamboo leaves.  Clutch size:  4-8.
When keeping Spice Finches, you will notice they are active.  All Finches fly around in their cages, of course, but some species tend to zip about.  Spice Finches, like other finches that come from reedy vegetation environments, tend to be zippers.    

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Things You Don't have to Teach a Dog

New improved ways to boss your dog around abound.  There's always somebody eager to tout a better way to teach your dog, the ultimate training technique.  I too, have my own best training methods.  Today, let's take a break from micro managing our dog's behavior and celebrate some of the things dogs do without being taught. 

You don't have to teach dogs which vehicle contains their people.  They figure out the difference between your husband's truck and the truck belonging to the guy who lives down the street.
When one of the dogs in the household goes blind, you don't have to teach the other dogs how to help that dog find his way around.  They simply offer a shoulder nudge or the beacon of footfalls.
The sound of the dog's bowl being placed on the kitchen counter is in a certain key.  No dog requires music lessons to hear it.
You get up from the easy chair and go to the kitchen to refill your water glass. When you return, the dog has taken over the easy chair.  There's a twinkle in his eye.  No, you don't have to teach a dog his sense of humor. 
Then there is the love and loyalty.  You are busy typing.  You look up, the dog is there on the rug beside the desk.  Simply there, with you.  Nobody teaches the dog how to comfort us just by being present.
Your dog's enthusiastic willingness to join you, just hang out with you, regardless of whether you are going for a jog or doing laundry or watching television, that's friendship. You don't have to teach dogs that.  They teach us.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 16

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Let's get on with it.

Sourtoe, a popular drink served at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon now lacks a key ingredient.  The Hotel is advertising for this ingredient so they can once again serve Sourtoe Cocktails. 
What is the ingredient?

Pickled Pigs Feet?

Hostmaster:  incorrect.

 A pair of black pumps marinated in lemon juice?

Hostmaster:  hmm.  Kinky.  I like that.  Incorrect.
Alcohol and bars and all that drinking serve to
 encourage the objectifying of women.
When women go into a bar, I imagine
that most of the time, their objective is to drink!
Stop encouraging me!
  I'm suddenly thirsty for a whiskey sourtoe!

Hostmaster:  back to the missing ingredient.
It's a toe.  A dead human toe.  It all began back in the 1920's. 
 Some guy named Otto was a trapper and rum runner.
  He got frostbite while running rum on a dogsled.
  The Mounties were after him.  He didn't want to get
 caught by going to the hospital for treatment
 for his frostbitten big toe.  He had
 his brother chop the toe off with an axe.
  Otto had to use up some of the rum stash for anesthesia for him
 and courage for his brother.
  Anyway, apparently, not wishing to completely severe
 his relationship with his toe, Otto dropped
 it in one of the rum bottles.
So it's like the worm in the tequila bottle.


Yeah.  For a while the toe was served
 in champagne in a beer glass.  Drinkers proved
 their mettle by touching the toe with their lips while drinking the champagne.
Now the toe is dropped into any booze of choice.
  Swallowing the toe is forbidden and results in a $500 fine.
  Evidently, that is why the Hotel is out of toes.  Some guy swallowed it.  
Now they are looking for another toe.

Why didn't they just induce vomiting and
 get the toe back from the guy that swallowed it?

That makes too much sense,  I guess.
Now they are looking to buy more
 toes to have on hand, so to speak.


How do they preserve the toe?
They soak it in alcohol to sterilize it,
 than store it in Margareta salt.

Bryan, how come you know
 so much Liquor Lore?  

My owner is a Liquor Hobbyist. 

So ends another round of Pop Culture Frenzy.
  Who's up for a round of Sourtoes?

Round 16
Fluffy/Molly      7
Bryan/Cyndi      8


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fluffy the Dogwalker

Illustration Friday's topic this week is LUSH.  I usually draw stuff for IF on my other blog ...sometimes IF and Fluffy merge!