Sunday, October 23, 2011

Banding The Youngest Bourke

Flame and Fuchsia's current three baby Bourkes.
As mentioned previously, we decided to give the birds nest boxes late this year. Hence, they started laying later and we still have baby birds.

Both Rosie and Fuchsia are still feeding their last three babies each from their second clutches. I've not let any other birds have a third clutch this year, and only allowed Bonnie and Clyde one clutch. Rhett and Cherry, our oldest pair, were the first to reproduce and I removed their nest box after two clutches. They were willing to have a third.
About to band this year's youngest so far, Baby #24.
Silver band for us is EGL. Year is 11, OR for Oregon.
Colored bands indicate parentage.

Rosie and her mate, Pretty Boy, have recently been mating repeatedly. They began as soon as their three had left the nest box. In fact, I think Rosie chased the youngest out. All three still require parent feeding. Yet, that hasn't stopped their parents from wanting to start another clutch. Pretty Boy is taking over most of the feeding. However, soon the babies will adequately feed themselves.

It's interesting what Rosie has done to their nest box. Normally, I clean the boxes before the birds go back for another clutch, and replace the pine shavings with fresh.

I didn't plan to allow Rosie a third clutch. I noticed her in the box before it was removed, and looked inside. She's completely turned over all the pine shavings that were stuck together from baby bird droppings. Although not fresh and clean like it would be after I worked on it, she's done a pretty fair job of cleaning things up and tossing the shavings so that they are soft again. It must have taken a lot of work.

This is as large as a foot can be for "budgie" bands. Bigger
and it wouldn't slip on. I waited a day or two longer than
necessary. Too soon, however, and they slip off in the nest.
Do I want to make Rosie lay eggs on the floor, or in a feed cup, because there is no nest box? I don't think so. I'll clean the box for her, give her fresh pine shavings and allow her that third clutch. She's young and healthy, as well as eager.

Then, there is Fuchsia. She and Flame are the parents of one of the sweetest birds I've ever owned, the one I lost last Monday. Would they produce another pink-eyed baby in a third clutch? One could hope they might. Currently, their three have dark eyes. They're younger than Rosie's. I am very tempted to allow them a third clutch and hope for another like the one that's gone.

In the past, there have been a couple of times when I didn't get a box cleaned out fast enough and there was already an egg in the used box. I temporarily removed the egg, quickly cleaned the box, added new pine shavings forming a "bowl" in the area I knew the hen preferred, and put the egg in it. Both hens accepted this and continued to lay other eggs, even hatching the one that was temporarily moved and replaced.

Although not finger tamed, Rhett's first hen, Scarlett, even accepted two babies and raised them after their own mothers rejected them. I think the other hens were restricting the size of their brood, whereas Scarlett's eggs (with the exception of one) were always infertile. Yet, she wanted to be a mother.

She and Rhett fostered several offspring from adopted eggs. That's not unusual. But what is uncommon is that Scarlett accepted two newly hatched baby birds at different times and raised them. She was a remarkable little Bourke hen and very sweet. She was never extremely hearty though and has since passed away. Rhett, on the other hand, is still with us. Rhett and Scarlett were my very first pair of Bourkes.  

My second pair of Bourkes were Bing (a beautiful singer) and Cherry. They weren't ideally matched and eventually I was able to give Bing another mate. He and a Normal, Stella, produced many beautiful offspring before they passed on. I've no idea how old they were when purchased, nor how old Cherry is either. When Scarlett died, Cherry went to Rhett and the rest is history. Over the years, they've produced and produced ... although she's not the sweetheart that Scarlett was and bosses Rhett terribly. Fortunately, their offspring all seem to inherit his exceptional disposition.

Year 2011 Baby #24 is banded. Blue & Red band will
always indicate his/her parents are Flame and Fuchsia.

Peace & Blessings

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