shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Reflections on Riamfada at edge of the Empty Quarter and some rants


Reflections on Riamfada at edge of the Empty Quarter and some rants

(written on wednesday 10 Mar 2010 in attempt to post prior to weekend)

That 2 ½ minutes of pure terror mixed with that bit of exhilaration for me still weighed on my mind even now more than 10 days after that event.

I think an appropriate name to that flight will be 'exuberance' flight instead of the other names I had given earlier.

I hope that put paid to any of you folks thinking of doing free flights in the open like what I have done.

Allowing your parrot to fly in your home after you secured the flight perimeter and make safe the inside will be more than enough for his/her physical and mental well being.

Take her outdoors by all means so he/she can feel the wind and the sun and see more than just the 4 walls. Take him/her outdoors safely in a harness and leash and NEVER EVER HOLD THE LEASH BY HAND AND ALWAYS CARABINERED THE LEASH TO YOU OR BACKPACK.

I have said every time I thought I knew more, the horizon of what I need to know receded even further making me feel that I known even less. I feel myself to be more and more the perpertual student.

Probably people wiser and smarter than me can become the ‘expert’ that they yearned to be. So much so that they became ‘expert’ even in matters that they knew little or nothing about.

Such as this guy in a South East Asian forum who took me to task for asking people to think of allowing their birds to even fly at home or even to fly at all. He wrote of parrot taken out to fly in a room with a ceiling fan on and got decapitated. He then wrote of a bird taken out of cage in room with opened windows and flew out of the house. He said that would never have happened if the wings were clipped.

I cringed at the stupidity of not shutting down the ceiling fan or not closing the windows prior to letting your bird fly.

That same guy advised on how to stop biting from hookbills saying he is an expert as he was bitten many times by his own parrots.

I got bitten badly once and once only as reported 'Riamfada gave me her first painful bite '

That despite my handling of other birds like M2s and BP2s that I was warned would bite.

With ‘experts’ like that claiming that being bitten many times making them expert, I am happy to remain an idiot or a student.

While I think the best way to teach a fool will be to let the fool do it his way, regretfully it is the bird that will suffer.

Then there was this guy , who lectured me just a couple weeks ago for ‘using harness and leash that is known to be extremely dangerous’ causing injuires as if he is an ‘expert’ because he rather hear from others he considered as ‘experts’ .

All because I said I was glad to have the harness and leash on Riamfada when I took her for the entire day to Wekan village and wondered aloud if anyone would dare to do free flights in the mountain terrain that was Wekan.

Oh yes, that guy declared he would do so. Good luck to him and better luck to whatever he wanted to fly.

Look into the postings that I had done in Livejournal in 2005 Aug ‘ Some letters on harness’ as to why I had said those injuries could be caused. By idiotic kneejerk reflexes by clueless fools who stuffed their parrot into harness with or without training and understanding.

They being incapable of blaming their own stupidity, of course will blame everything else including the usage of harness just like that gentleman who blamed the decapitating of the parrot on the not cutting of the wings. They want everyone else to follow in their footsteps by screaming at those who suggest otherwise.

Can anyone questioned me that I have done more flights with Tink and Riam on harness and leash than all those ‘experts’ in the world combined together?

Yet they will take the word of someone who never done harnessed flights or failed disasterously in that over what I have done for so many years? And never bothered with what I had said in the past?

People who put on harness and leash on parrot, and not holding onto the leash or watching the parrot who then flew and entangle high up on trees are 'experts' in harness usage?

What will those 'experts' do next? Go bungee jumping and not tie the bungee to the bridge?

I think I express my sentiments in ‘ cargo cult'

I am sure cargo cultists think they are ‘experts’ like traffic controllers and pilots in knowing how to guide and land planes onto airstrips. But I do think even the most chutzpah of cargo cultists is more intelligent than ‘harness experts’ and will not tell a pilot how to fly a plane or tell a traffic controller in guiding a plane down.

Considering that Tinkerbell was and still taken out to fly with harness and leash for ten years now, and with Riamfada too, perhaps he and others like him might be frustrated that Tink and Riam are still healthy and well and happy to see me approaching them with the harness. Why do I stand in their way of pulpit thumping on harness on parrots are dangerous ?

I did enough thumping and shouting. But you have seen my shouting had been STUPID AND UNTHINKING uses of harness AND WITHOUT THE SUITABLE TRAINING AND BACKGROUND AND INAPPOPRIATE HARNESS is dangerous.

And anything else you do in life stupidly and unthinkingly is dangerous including crossing the road as written in 'Ramadan & Kitties on beach// Chess -1st Saturday IM Tournament // Tinkerbell Harness for Piper '

I can almost pinpoint how the Mickey Mouse elastic cord got incorporated into parrot harness. That guy lurked in the same forum and saw Tinkerbell Harness developed over the years with that last refinement done and written on 28 June 2005 in ‘Tinkerbell revisited - meeting with Tsaoling bird whisperer and quirks of harness design’

Then you read the end part of ‘ Some letters on harness’
you see this entity knowing nothing on parrot and harness claiming she knew something on herons jumping in?

Read my follow up letter immediately after that in Livejournal.

Guess who then stole her corny idea and combined with what I given to all the world asking only for some money to wildlife organization and came onto the parrot world Oct 2005 with the lie that theirs is the ‘lightest harness for parrot’ when Tinkerbell harness then and now weighed in at just 3 grams.

In the early days when that *puke* harness came out, that came out with URLs to other parrot harnesses on the Internet so you can see how they compared against that *puke* harness. Those other harnesses were ghastly. Some of the other parrot harnesses looked like they were designed by that ghost of Jacob Marley.

Which was why I had to design Tinkerbell harness in the first place.

The only omission from the list of other parrot harness was Tinkerbell harness. Which was strange as in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 and since then, you cannot do any search of parrot harness without Tinkerbell harness popping out right at the top.

To explain why the harness needed the elastic cord, that *puke* harness in the early days included this in their write up to explain why. They changed that by now.

‘When they fly, their center of gravity , CG, is not and never will be
at the point of tether to the harness. To be more explicit, that CG
will be at the point of tether if that tether can be threaded
physically through the heart. The stop will then be abrupt, but then,
with the tether through the heart, you need not worry about her flying
fast or even flying at all.

That meant the CG is off-set away from the line. The point of
attachment of the tether to the harness acts as a hinge. So when the
end of line is reached, the body kind of rotate around onto a new

What I wrote in June 2005 in was lifted and used without understanding what that was about.

That it was actually to explain why we need not have to worry about that ‘hitting a brick wall’. But you know people who copy never know what they copy about.

This is what I wrote in the entire context.

‘Yes, the other reason against harness is that 'they hit a brick wall' when they reached the end of the line. I am sorry for plagiarising from what I have written before but I thought I gather that into this letter as well as it is going out to all groups.

We need not worry so much about the flying to the end and the jerk.

In all the 'end of line' encounters with Tinkerbell, she just kind of
swivel onto a new direction. None of those 'hitting a brick wall'

I wondered over that before and decided it was a matter of applied

First of all, our arm holding the line, the line, and her body all have
a certain 'looseness' and give to them. The jerk is not an
abrupt 'hitting of brick wall'.

When they fly, their center of gravity , CG, is not and never will be
at the point of tether to the harness. To be more explicit, that CG
will be at the point of tether if that tether can be threaded
physically through the heart. The stop will then be abrupt, but then,
with the tether through the heart, you need not worry about her flying
fast or even flying at all.

That meant the CG is off-set away from the line. The point of
attachment of the tether to the harness acts as a hinge. So when the
end of line is reached, the body kind of rotate around onto a new

Tinkerbell knew it. There had been many times she deliberately flew to
the end of the line away from me to twist at the end to fly in big
circles a few times before returning back to me again.’

The best tests of what I wrote (which by the way, predate to 2002/2003 when I started harness flying with Tinkerbell) will be Tinkerbell and Riamfada and the thousands of flights they made for me in harness and leash.

No matter how careful I tried to be, the line would be snagged now and then. Their flights to me might be abruptly brought to a halt. That happened now and then

You know parrot and greys especially have long memories and extremely adverse to anything that hurt them. If the Tinkerbell harness getting snagged hurt them, would they allow or even be so cheerful and cooperative with me in wearing the harness?

Tinkerbell harness is made from light shoelaces with DOUBLE WEAVE material which is slightly springy. I flew and observed Tinkerbell in her harness thousands of times and noticed she was not hurt by what I have sed. Tinkerbell harness is a totally integrated design, and not ad hoc mix of ideas and Mickey Mouse concepts lifted from others and combined together with 7-8 patents filed.

I read of so many letters of parrots refusing to wear commercial harness after a few times. Tinkerbell herself refused to wear the commercial harness I bought for her after a few times. I read of people having to use towels and thick gloves to force their parrots to wear other commercial including that *puke* harnesses.

Now, should I upload a letter from that *puke* company that offered me a ‘free’ harness? With all headers to show where that letter came from?

I hope those who bought from them enjoy this little history lesson. The one who asked me to think about incorporating that elastic cord meant well. I think he will be shocked at this bit of history.

No one really suffer.

Only the wildlife that that I hope some money can go to will suffer.
The others will continue to laugh all the way to their bank, just like those who stole money from church poor boxes.

But back to more worthy topic.

Prior to that 2 ½ minutes of exuberance for Riamfada and terror for me, I thought I was good enough.

My original big fear of spook flights had gradually subsided to a respect as Riamfada showed more and more she would no longer fly with GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE to a ‘I fly away’, perch somewhere safe, look around and then return.

It became even better than that as her spook flight became ‘I fly away’, hover in mid air, and return to me. I admit I became more and more insidious to her in that earlier truly accidental drops of ciggie lighters became more randomly ‘accidental’ in last couple of months. As if that was not enough, ‘accidental’ drops of empty drink cans sporadically occurred.

My wife, aided by her familiar Dommie, occasionally helped even if they had not realized so when she dropped things in kitchen short of the kitchen sink itself. Riam would fly off my shoulder, or where she was at briefly, and returned.

I thought I also read Riamfada nuances quite well, in that I could sense her mood.

BUT, I forgot Riamfada is a intelligent sentient. If wives can have free will and mood swings , how much more so for intelligient sentients like parrots. Husbands are suspected not to be intelligent or even sentient and they are excluded from having any free will as they have shown they were stupid anyway for becoming husbands.

Or is that the other way around?

And I do not have precognitive ability to detect those mood swings ahead of time to do something useful. I felt it that morning, but was too late to do more than attempt to harness Riamfada. And you all know without their willing cooperation, that just could not be done.

Riamfada ‘exuberance’ flight was a lot more terrifying than the worse I had imagined and prepared for.

I had made mental preparations for her ‘parroty joke’ flights. That ‘exuberance’ flight was a few quantum leaps more when I saw her at least a couple of times, disappeared to the horizon.

She did came back.

But can I rely on that one instance that she will return ALL THE TIME FROM ‘EXUBERANCE’ FLIGHTS?

What if a raptor appeared from beyond the horizon? I think Riamfada flying skills are good enough but would she be so lost she could not find her way back to me?

Or am I just too paranoid?

I have to prepare for the worse if I want to hope for the best. And if I could not prepare for that worse, I cannot just hope for the best.

God, or Tao or mystic monk ( help only those that help themselves.

That weighed and weighed on my mind.

That desert flight weekend was a long weekend extending to 27 Feb 2010 Saturday because of Prophet Mohammed (Blessed be his name) birthday.

On that Saturday, I decided to go to Wadi Harban with the kitties telling my wife that I thought of taking them there the last and first time we were there.

more photos in flickr folder "Wadi Halban with Kattie and Dommie"

That was certainly true.

But now in retrospect, I think what underlay those wonderful logical rationalization was the emotional fear of going to Buwah. I had thought Buwah was such a safe place to free fly, to all the worse scenarios in my mind then. That exuberance flight of Riamfada at the desert blew those scenarios apart.

Wadi Harban was a place that Riamfada would remain leashed up and that was why I chose that place to go to that day. The fear was too raw in me just the next day.

At Wadi Harban, we all enjoyed ourselves again. The unusual rains this year allowed lush growth of the grass and wild flowers there. Dommie was ever the explorer. Katie was fearful and remained inside the car, under the car, top of the car but mostly under the driver seat in the car.

The bee keepers came over this time to admire Riamfada and her recalls to me. They made us felt very welcome there with offers of water and honey that we declined with counter offers of our picnic goodies.

more photos in flickr folder "Wadi Halban with Kattie and Dommie"






That day passed well in between lunches, reading, flying Riamfada, trying to persuade Katie to be out of the car, snacks and cursing Dommie.

Dommie wanderings became more exuberant than before. I was dragged out of my book by my wife squealing away. I looked a while before I could make out Dommie was not only across the dry wadi, Dommie was making his way up the side of a high hill the sun was setting behind.

Dommie taken with 25x zoom on side of hill

That was a beautiful sight as Dommie stood in the skyline blazed by the sun behind him. My wife tried to shoot that shot. I told her if she accepted my offer to buy her a proper monster SLR camera (that of course she was expected to carry), she would have gotten a photo the entire world would crawl at her feet for. Instead of thanking me for that repeated offer, she directed verbal kicks to me.

She stopped verbally kicking me only because Dommie disappeared over the other side of the hill to wail away at me to get him back.

I firmly refused to walk that 200++ meters over the wadi, climb that humongous 45 degree slope to look for a Dommie that traitorously transferred allegiance to my wife and with saccharine eyes only for her. Cursing Dommie loudly was all I was prepared to do.

I even laughed and reminded my wife we planned to leave 20 minutes later from that place.

I wickedly added with or without Dommie and glad Katie was such a coward to remain within the car.

Dommie was a bad penny before it became reincarnated as Dommie. Just as I finished packing up base camp, Dommie appeared on the other side of that hill true to the nature of his former life as a bad penny. He came down the slope, ran across that wadi and my wife was happily reunited with her familiar again and we all went back home.

more photos in flickr folder "Wadi Halban with Kattie and Dommie"

On the 4th Mar 2010 Thursday, I decided to return to Buwah. Katie had not liked Wadi Harban and she seemed to explore happily at Buwah even if not to the extent of Dommie.

more photos in flickr folder "Buwah with Kattie and Dommie 4 March 2010 "

Strangely though, Katie refused to leave the car as before.

Despite one week of brooding, I could not think of a solution to Riamfada’s potential exuberance flight. The leash remained on Riamfada that day at Buwah. Not as if having that leash on hindered her flights to me in any way. The only impact was on Riamfada that there would be no soaring exuberant flights for her that would cause me premature aging.

That day was spent in the way it should be. Very uneventful to the point it could be considered boring for all of us.


Picking up rubbish & plastic bottles left by other #@$#%^&&(*^$# picnickers






We packed up and drove back.

A glimmer of a partial solution came during that drive back.

I could not pray to be given precognitive powers. And if I have precognitive powers, I would not have wasted it on Riamfada.

I would be a billionaire 100 times over playing the stock market, racing horses and futures market. I would then wired Riamfada up with miniature sensors and GPS widgets with no regards to costs to know exactly where she is at any time. And engaged a backup army of humans on scrambler bikes to keep eyeball lookouts to get her back.

I have little concern for spook flights for reasons I touched on earlier.

Parroty joke flights done to me had been local and had to be accepted as parroty joke to be lived with and within walking distances.

That eventuality that I had to prepare for is that Riamfada during an exuberance flight got blown or chased until she could not come back and too far for me to get to her.

Falcon transponders I had enquired in Dubai who wanted to charge me 3 times the price I saw on Internet.

But what if Riamfada could tell those who found her my telephone? Or my telephone number be on her that I then could be contacted.

What if something could be clipped to her with my telephone?

What about those tiny aluminium thingie with paper scrolled inside designed for cat or dog collars that I seen in pet shops in Qurum? That I could tie with Dyneema to her harness?

That same evening saw me in petshop there. They have no tiny aluminum cylinder thingie. Perhaps I seen that in petshop in some other countries that got mentally displaced to here in Muscat, Oman.

But they have tiny plastic cylinder thingie for cats or dogs. I rather have the aluminium as I feared Riamfada would just chew the plastic apart. I bought 2 of those at about 2 US$ each. They snapped open to reveal a scroll of paper for name address and telephone number inside.


The next morning was Friday. But that day would be devoted to checking this possible solution.
I called Mr Jabri who enjoyed that desert report and was frightened by that only a bit less than me and much more frightened than any of you for reason obvious to all of you.

He agreed his name and phone be written in that paper together with my wife telephone number. That was in case if Riam was rescued by someone who might not be able to speak English, he would be called.

I was prepared for any ransom or reward money to get Riamfada back.

I fixed two harness with that tiny cylinder thingie. Riamfada was harnessed up for that acid test. If those cylinder bothered her. She could chew that within a second.

She was curious, and gave that a cursory chew and never bothered again with that cylinder.

That Friday was spend in neighbourhood walks , and flights inside the house with just the harness on. She never bothered with the cylinder.

That was tested all through the week in our daily neighbourhood walks and recall flights done. That tiny cylinder thingie never bothers Riam at all when she was flying or not flying and ignored by her all the time.



Nothing is fool proof. But the chances of Riamfada being found and reunited with me is now immensely better with those telephone numbers attached to her harness via that cylinder.

Any freeflights will be done with Riam in her harness which now weigh 4 grams with that cylinder thingy. The harness is less than 1 % of her body weight. That 1 % is less than your running shoes /shirt/shorts that you wear when you go for a run. Or do you need to be naked and running without shoes before you feel you are truly running? If you feel that way, and if you are a sweet young thing and live near me, do me a favour and come over and run in circles around me.

Riamfada in harness is likely to be less exuberant. Which is fine by me.

I said before the body leash of the harness is reduced to barely an inch. The only way the harness could be snagged on tree would be on a tiny thorn or twig. Riamfada enjoyed almonds and brazil nuts in their shells. Riamfada chewed a basket to pieces and in the process of chewing the hostess trolley in her room to pieces. She chewed the 2 inch diameter perch in her room.

I cannot imagine Riam would not chew any twig if she is ever snagged by a twig. Maybe if her harness caught in barb wire fence might be a problem. I promise all that I will never fly Riam anywhere near barb wire fence or outside a prison wall.

I hope I am right and covered all the angles that I need to cover.

In last report, I mentioned I wanted to see the stars out in the desert except that time, the moon was full.

This is two weeks later, with no moon.

And I paid for Al Areesh camp yesterday for this weekend.

And we will see the stars over the Rub Al kayim on Thursday night.

(I tried to get this out before the weekend, but failed. That revisit to the desert camp will be in next report)


Important old letters on harness
Harness for flighted parrots – To Nick and folks

August, 2005.

‘ cargo cult'

'Ramadan & Kitties on beach// Chess -1st Saturday IM Tournament // Tinkerbell Harness for Piper '



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.


(edited on 4th November 2011 to include below)

To Shanlung - How to do Free Flight Outside

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