shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Thoughts on free flights // Riamfada last weekend with Jabris

Thoughts on free flights // Riamfada last weekend with Jabris


Thoughts on free flights


A few days ago, I was re-reading a discussion I have had with Milko Atchev of Bulgaria in 2005 on doing freeflights.
'some recent letters on free flying our parrots (food management to get stronger recalls)'

That laid out the known techniques used to bring about doing freeflights then . We talked on the morality of doing free flights itself if those techniques were to be employed and if free flights should even be attempted. I have seen many argument in various forums against doing free flights.

Yet the strongest and best arguments against doing free flights were made by Milko Atchev in that discussion, so those who disliked free flights should take a look into that as well.

I do not think you could have come up with arguments against doing free flights which are stronger and eloquently presented then made by the two of us who knew about flighted parrots back in 2005.

It was fascinating to me to read in that discussion the template that I actually set for myself with what I have done with Riamfada. Even to the point when I went to Dubai to try to get falcon transponder for Riamfada.

I had forgotten all that discussions with Milko when Riamfada first came to me. But in my subconscious mind, that route I taken was set already in that discussion.

You knew of my absolute dislike for food management unless taken to maintain weight within the norms of good health. My ‘training’ of Tink, to Yingshiong and now of Riamfada were always conducted after their main meals.

During the freeflights of Riamfada, or when the leash was attached, more often then not she took and dropped the sunflower/almond I offered her and she bend her head instead for head rubs that she got of course.

With the harness and leash, I could take and introduce Riamfada safely to many different kinds of wind conditions and for her to know how to fly in head winds, in tail winds and cross winds and in gusty winds. Those elements could never be duplicated in enclosed warehouses/office and gymnasiums.

She learned to fly from top of castle ramparts to me down below and vice versa. Flying down is one of the most difficult of flying skills. Too many missing birds remained missing because they did not know how to fly down even when they wanted to fly down to you calling out to them.

People who were encouraged to do free flights after just flying in enclosed warehouse conditions were seriously misled.

But then, people in Free Flight yahoo group considered me a dangerous blasphemous heretic for telling folks to fly with harness and leash prior to full free flights.
The best way to minimize the ‘spook and scoot’ is prayers and hoping Murphy stay away. But by taking your bird out regularly, you increase their confidence and poise which should help.

I mentioned that the ‘spook and scoot’ of Riamfada at home had changed from GET ME OUT OF HERE to more rational flights away and then back again. That was one of the criteria that I decided Riam was ready. I chose also the location at Buwah that would allow me to visually locate her regardless which direction she flew in case prayers did not work and Murphy decided to say hello.

And even if prayers worked, do remember parrots love to play parroty jokes. I am not sure how much that will help your ‘calmness’ to know that was only a parroty joke played on you.

The old leash had a small tangle which I could not undo. It is utmost important that the leash line must be smooth and snag free. I retired the line for use in more mundane stuff. I used a new reel of Dyneema for 140 meters of new snag free line.

Neigbourhood walk was to test that out.

There was a very interesting development last Tuesday night at home on that ‘spook and scoot’. That was after that usual neighbourhood walk.

Riam had finished her ‘foraging’ routines from perch, to ring and bar. I was sitting on the sofa watching the TV when she flew to me for her snuggling and head rubbings prior to her taken to her room for her goodnight routine.

She bend her head over my Rolex watch strap to unclip the watch so she could stick her head into the strap and be head rubbed. Periodically she pulled her head out to walk up and down from my lap to my shoulder pausing to lay her head on my body for head rubs.

Dommie decided to get crazy with Katie and the two of them erupted into a fight on the hidden side of another sofa. They spilled a waste basket with empty cans to the floor with a crash and ran out of the catflap they made in the screen door to continue their fight at the patio.

Riam was spooked, and so was I momentarily.

Riamfada flew off from my chest. Except she flew only 6-7 meters to the perch, the one with the basket hanging under it. She looked about , bobbing side to side as the perch swayed with her landing. Then a couple seconds later, she flew back to me to resume the headrubs. I had not expected this and thought she would fly all the way back to her room before flying out back to me again.

Now, how in the world can one reach agreement with a parrot not to have parroty jokes being played.

Riamfada is a sentient and very intelligent entity and while I claim to have some understanding of her, I can never tell what goes on in her mind at all times.

Just like if you drive on a winding mountain road in a beautiful valley, just how much can you enjoy the scenery? Perhaps via glimpses at corner of eye when you need to focus on remaining on the road.

I love the places that I go to with Riamfada. I found I could not really enjoy those places to the extent I used to when I had to focus on Riamfada without the leash on her. The only exception would be at Buwah with that sprawling plain with trees that would not obstruct sight of her.

I very much prefer to keep Riam on leash to have the peace of mind at most other places. The strong arguments against free flights made in 2005 are even more valid now that I have done free flights.

I know so much more now than back in 2005. But the end horizon is so much more vast. In comparision to 2005, I feel I know so much less relatively speaking.
I am in a further state of confusion now then I was in 2005.


Weekend Riam with Jabri

more photos in flickr folder "Riamfada stays with the Jabris "

I had thought about how to get Riamfada to fly to Asia, MJ youngest daughter. That name is actually called as Ahh-See-Yaa. I had not gone into that detail, but was prompted to do so now by Feika from Theafricangreyparrot forum. I was pleasantly surprised that Feika knew.

That name Asia is the name of the Pharoh’s wife who rescued and raised Moses. You see the depth of the background between Islam and Christianity. I never comprehend why man had to stress on differences instead of what they have in common.

I thought that if I could use subterfuge on Riam to fly to others, I might break that ice. If I hold the perch together with Jabris , Riamfada would fly to me holding the perch. If I then drop my hold at the last moment, Riam would find herself landing on perch hold by the other.

Except I seldom hold the perch for Riam to land on as before when I started. I signaled with my hand out, and Riam landed on my shoulder. I had to get Riam used to landing on perch hold by me again.

I tried that in the neighbourhood walk the day prior to taking Riam to Jabris to be left over the weekend.

First attempt to get Riamfada to land on the rod and reel instead of on the shoulder. She understood what we wanted from the second attempt.

Riam then understood she was to land on the perch instead of on my shoulder if I hold that up for her.

Riam was taken over to Jabri in her cage on Wednesday afternoon to be left there for the weekend, with half a pack of mash and assorted sunflower seeds and almonds, and a few hand perches for Jabris. That was prior to our leaving for Dubai to collect my new passport.


A short course on taking her in and out of the cage again.

Riam was on my wife perch while I hold another perch with Aminah. I did the recall to have Riam flying over. I drop my grip just before Riam landed on the perch now hold up by Aminah.

Aminah got that sensation of Riam landing and she was so pleased.
That was done with Mrs Jabri too. MJ was not around then.






Riamfada was intelligent enough to know of that subterfuge I was using. She could have veered off at the last moment too once she knew what I was doing. She accepted that and continued to land on their perch a few times.

You see the looks of delight on their faces. I cannot imagine that they would ever consent to clippping Riamfada at all.

We then went on our 5 hours drive to Dubai. I picked up my new passport early the next morning. We went to that Aquaventure at Atlantis. The water was heated, but the air temperature was at 20C. We took a ride sitting in their floating rings. The hands and the bum and the ankles were in the water and felt warm enough. But the rest of the body was subjected to the air and the spray and the windchill. As I thought, it was not warm enough for me even if it seemed very warm to folks in USA or Europe in your extended winter. That one ride was enough for us and we left soon after.

We went off to see Burj Dubai renamed to Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world.

"when barefoot shepherds built tall builings

We all have had so many indications of our impending end. CO2 rising, methane bubbling up from the tundra permafrost melting as well as the methane hydrate from Artic Ocean floor. Then we have the Maya's 2012 prediction.

I recalled one further prediction of the end of the world, a Muslim prediction.
That "when barefoot shepherds built tall builings", the end is nigh.

So let us all live happy and be merry now. Let us enjoy the present and let the devil or whoever take care of the future.

We came back to Muscat late on Friday and recovered Riamfada from the Jabris.

I was pleased to hear Riamfada very willingly came in and out and back into the cage at appropriate times. That for a bird used to flying freely at home or in her room, Riam accepted cage time readily too.

I was pleased to hear from Asia that Riamfada flew to her at cue and at her delight at that.

I was pleased to hear Riamfada very readily accepted headrubs from Mrs Jabri.

I was pleased the time I spend with Jabris and Riam together was time well spent

more photos in flickr folder "Riamfada stays with the Jabris "



If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice


For those that through no fault of their own, or otherwise, and had to part painfully and unwillingly from their beastie or birdies, whether in the past, or the present, or in the future, I dedicate the saga of Riamfada that I had wrote , and continue to write to that final handover , to you all.


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