shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

mind of parrot//Tinkerbell Mash Batch 9//Riamfada pulling up cup//Villa walkabout



Mentality of parrot

William wrote to me a letter yesterday. I have his ok to reproduce that below


Hello, Shanlung,

It's been a while since I wrote. My apology, but I've started a new job and the time constraints of caring for a menagerie and working a full time position in the US (where the working week has been unofficially extended to 45 hours) don't leave time for correspondence.

But I had to comment on what you said about people with certifificates and living with a grey. I've been bitten a number of times. It's ok. I recognize what constitutes a bite (a real bite!) and what constitutes a parrot playing hard, a process which will almost inevitably leave a puncture mark or two. Honestly, when I've asked my grey (Martha - long story on the name) to do things she doesn't feel like doing (going inside when she's not done playing is one example) she will give me a nip to let me know she doesn't want to do that. This is ok - she has the right to tell me she wants to play more. People who do not accept that the bird also has wants probably should go buy a dog, though I'm not sure they'd be very good dog owners either.

As for certificates, etc, I learned in one exchange with an expert that our end goals are not in sync. My goal is to give the bird as much freedom as I can, and let it discover its limits. The expert's goal was to ensure a satisfying bird ownership experience. So while I am very at ease letting my bird fly to my shoulder and hang out there or wander up and down my chest and back, her advice was that this shouldn't be done. But since we were operating from different views of what is desirable in a bird-human relationship, any reasonable discussion of what should and should not take place was fruitless. So, rather than expose myself to the frustration inherent in trying to convince people of the 'goodness' of ideas when they don't want to be convinced, I just keep my views to myself and try not to get too annoyed when I read some of the poppycock that passes for bird owning wisdom.

One thing I can say - an African Grey is far more cognizant of the aspects of its life than is generally accepted. I have never met a more intellectually engaging creature - I'm fond of saying that greys are cats on steroids, since cats are also intellectually engaging, whereas dogs are loyal, and, quite rightly, man's best friend. All three species play an important role in my life, and I value each species for what it brings to the relationship.

Somewhat rambling, and I apologize. But, as I said, I hadn't written for a while, and I appreciate the perspective you bring to life and thought it might be a good thing to let you know.

As always, best wishes,

William H Guttenberg


I am touched by that letter William send to me. Even the occasional nip that he confessed inflicted on him.

After all, with all that I wrote, I cannot promise even a chomp free existence with your birdie.

I only say less chomping from your birdie, even for me.

None of us are perfect, especially me. We all have our lapses. From the time with Tinkerbell, and I imagine into the future, there have been lapses on my part. Through my own getting out of wrong side of bed, coffee not getting into head yet, day dreaming, wanting a particular sequence very much and plain stupidity, I have been guilty of not asking and therefore not observing them enough at times.

In such cases, I pay some kind of price.

In short, I do get chomped on. Rarely , and not on that kind of monthly basis. But never those bone crunching (other than that once from Riamfada who mistook my finger for wife ) or blood drawing bite.

Tinkerbell loves me very much.


Tink was so different from Riam. Tink would nip me, never painfully, to draw my attention should I be lost in day dreaming and not paying attention to her.

In-attention to her during our playing and training because of incoming phone calls would see Tink attacking the mobile phone in full fury. Wife talking to me during those times would see her being chased away to another room.

Riamfada is different in that she never knowingly even nipped on me. You have known Riam not only bite, she had displayed terrifying flying lunges onto my wife, and once captured on photo, a flying lunge on Harry in

Even when I pushed her more than I should at a couple of time in my puerile curiosity, she just would not bite me. But she remembered. And she chose my wife as her whipping girl. And punished my wife to punish me a short while later.

Needless to say, I stay on that straight and narrow with Riamfada and all puerile curiousity in me (at least on Riamfada) was purged. My wife made sure of that.

Wlliam's letter brought home an element that is much more sad to me.

I am made aware of the gulf that I am trying so hard to bridge with others.

Those who read me, and in this mailing list, must have already shared a similar outlook to our companions. Even when you all have not heard of me, you all are already walking on your path, subjected to your constraints, similar and parallel to mine regardless if you kept your birdie flighted or clipped.

To those others that I tried to reach, even by entering into their forums on this issue, have been so surrounded by their brand of 'experts' and 'expert advisors' and 'bird owning wisdom' , that I felt the futility of reaching out to them.

We will still see 'dominance', 'height placement' , 'must show them you are the boss' and 'discipline' chanted again and again and yet again in those forums.

As if I never written there at all.

I feel like a modern day Don Quixote tilting at windmills.


Tinkerbell Mash Batch 9

More photos in flickr folder 'Tinkerbell mash batch 9 '

Tinkerbell Mash is based on the formula for Mike’s Manna Mash created and given to the world by my good friend Mike Burton. Mike is sadly no longer with us but never will be forgotten as long as people prepare his mash or Tinkerbell Mash.

All this is dedicated to Mike Burton. A friend who left us all too soon and
gave the world Mike's Manna Mash and on which Tinkerbell Mash in all its forms
has been based.

Original Mikes Manna Mash recipe here
The memory of Mike will live on in every bit of Mike's Manna Mash or Tinkerbell
Mash regardless of the batch or who made it or feed on it.

Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7

I was down to my last baggie of batch 8 .

This is the last time that I could cook mash for Riamfada, in Tinkerbell Mash Batch 9. My last major work of love for my little girl that will largely be given to the Jabri family until they cook mash for her.

So preparation for batch 9 started on 14 Aug with the soaking of the beans and peas. Full details of how the mash is done is best read in mash batch 7 URL below

Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7

Cooking of batch 9 was in the evening of 16 Aug 2010.

The recipe for Batch 9 is almost like batch 8

1 measure (50 grams) of soybeans
1 measure (50 grams) of kidney beans
1 measure (50 grams) of garbonzo beans
1 measure (50 grams) of pinto beans
1 measure (50 grams) of blackeye beans
2 measure (100 grams) of Great Northern white beans
1 measure (50 grams) of red beans
1 measure (50 grams) of green beans
1 measure (50 grams) of black beans
1 measure (50 grams) of lima beans
1 measure (110 grams)of frozen sweet corn

(editted on 8Feb2011 to include
1 measure (50 grams) of peas This was in the photos but I forgot to include here until Morana pointed out my omission. Thank you Morana for pointing out this error)

1 measure (70 grams) of brown crushed barley
1 measure (70 grams) of brown glutinious rice
1 measure (70 grams) of brown rice
1 measure (70 grams) of brown rolled oats
1 measure (70 grams) of brown rolled wheat berries
( I decided to use slightly more cereal than standard. Just my choice. I liked crushed or rolled grains )

2 measure (120 grams) of millet

(about 600 grams) of sweet potatoes 3/4 grated (thereabout)
(about 600 grams) of carrots 3/4 grated (thereabout)

(62 grams) of brazil nuts (because I ran out of brazil nuts)
(71 grams) of almonds
2 tablespoon of wheat germ
2 teaspoon of cuttlefish bone crushed and powdered

Lima beans contained linamarin, which releases a cyanide compound unless cooked thoroughly. The soaking/germinating process that I do reduces the linamarin.
The liquidizing of the all the beans ensured the beans are broken into small bits so that cooking is thorough to render harmless all poison from lima and other beans. This is a new addition on my part. If you do fear lima beans, you should exclude it)

The dried beans were first soaked about 8 hours in individual containers to start the sprouting process. All the water were then drained, and must be drained or rot might set in. The beans were subsequently soaked and washed AND DRAINED repeatedly over the next couple of days and nights until the time of cooking.

Two hours before the time of cooking, I soaked the beans for the last time until the cooking time. The beans were then washed and drained before entering the pot of boiling water.

Riamfada checking those germinating beans prior to cooking before giving her nod of approval




The crushed brown wheat, oats and barley below


The brown rice , Bismati and glutinous rice below


This is the change I made in batch 9. I had been noticing that Riamfada might not be taking the rice in earlier batches. Perhaps Riam might have been taking that all along and its just that the cooked rice grains were more noticeable in the left over mash. The crushed/rolled wheat/barley/oats all disintegrated into the cooking of the mash.

I decided to pulverised the rice prior to cooking. So I poured the rice grains into the liquidizer.




You see most of the rice powderised. I felt the mash will be that much more homogenous in the cooking.

The grating of the sweet potatoes


The grating of the carrots


A handful of red beans, green beans, sweet corn, peas were set aside.

All the rest of the beans went into the pot after the water was boiling, and continued to boil for about 5 minutes to parboil the beans first.

The pot went into the sink filled with cold water to cool that down for handling and liquidizing. I felt this was necessary as Riam was a picky eater. This liquidizing of the parboiled beans chopped the beans into tiny bits that will ensure thorough cooking of the beans despite the short cooking time later. I do not care to boil the beans for a long time which might destroy much of its nutrition. Riam who was a picky eater in first couple of batches could not pick and chose anymore.



The brazil/almond nuts added to those parboil beans to be liquidised.


The whitish portion of liquidised beans/brazil/almond nuts


The pot was then set to boil again. The mixture was sticky and thick. More boiling water was added and stirred to make the mixture to be liquid enough to be boiled ,together with the handful of red/green beans and sweet corn and peas set aside earlier.

This boiling went on for about 10 minutes to ensure total cooking of the liquidized beans.

The millet, the wheat germ and the cuttlefish powder were then added in and stirred all the time.

The cereals and the crushed rice powder were added and stirred and brought to a boil.
This boil maintained for 5 minutes to ensure the carbohydrates were cooked stirring the mixture all the time.

Handful, by handful of sweet potatoes and carrot gratings were added and stirred.

Again not all the sweet potates and carrots were used as pot was filled almost to the top.

The pot removed from the heat, placed on wooden block, and 2 towels wrapped about it to maintain the heat to cook through the night.



In the next morning, the mash was packed into baggies for the freezer, with one baggie thawed and in the fridge for feeding with whatever vege salad and fruits to Riam


Riam giving her approval for Tinkerbell Mash Batch 9 prior to storing them in the freezer.


I was delighted the next morning when I gave her Batch 9 for the first time. She ate it all from first bite.

My last batch of mash made with love for my little girl.

More photos in flickr folder 'Tinkerbell mash batch 9 '


Riamfada pulling up cup

More photos in flickr folder 'Walkies at home'

I woke up one morning. When I walked to the living room, I saw the wobbly perch in a tangled heap on the floor. Shards of broken pottery shattered around it. My first thought was that could not be. I could not believe the triple loops of Dyneema would have snapped nor the piece of wood stuck with silicon cement on the wall.

It was the thick yellow S hook that was the weak link. I used that for the conveninence of moving about to Jabri's house. That S hook was plastic. The next time, that S hook will be steel instead of plastic. I guessed some time in the night, it gave up the ghost and sheared right through.

It was not a problem for me to tie the sisal rope from the Dyneema loops directly. The foraging jars were another matter. The jars were cheap, but that required a trip to Wadi Fanja to buy from the village there. Those jars with a hole were jars original meant as nesting jars for birdies. I enlarged the hole to make them into foraging jars.

I noticed some tiny clay cups I had bought earlier. They were small, and I thought too small so I set that aside.

I was not sure the tiny cups would work. But I thought in the meantime, I could still rigged that as foraging points using thin sisal cords to tie them to the top branch.

Riamfada was happy in that tiny as the cups were, she could stuck her beak inside to get at the treats.


She did not hang down, or used them as footing the way she did with the jars.

I had not realised that while the cups were much smaller, they were lighter too.

What delighted me was that Riam decided soon enough she could haul the cups up on the sisal line they were suspended from. Claw and jaw, claw and jaw, she got the cup up to that top perch for those treats.

Below youtube video tells it better.
After that video was taken, I braided those 2 thin strands of sisal twine together to make it easier for her. If I had known that she would pull that up, I would have done that from the start.

Another example where my hindsight is shown to be superior to my foresight.


Villa inside walkabout

More photos in flickr folder 'Walkies at home'

Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting started on 11th Aug 2010 Wednesday. By law, no one can eat, drink or smoke in the public until sun down prayers.

The neighbourhood walks had to be slightly changed. I smoke most of the time. I obviously cannot walk on the road with a ciggie in hand. If police caught me, I would be thrown into the lockup until sundown prayers before I am released.

So we decided to do that neighbourhood walks in our own private compound.

You seen the videos in the last report where Riamfada did not fly through that doorway in a hide & seek recalls. What she did was more wonderful and delightful to me then a mundane successful hide & seek recall.

Still, I decided to get her familiarised with that low wall and doorway.

I use line-of-sight and then partial line-of-sight recalls that you can see below.
Quite a few were done. We did not shoot them all. We then did a couple of hide&seek recalls through the doorway from the same near distance. Which went well but not shot as well.



The full sequential shots are in

More photos in flickr folder 'Walkies at home'

Clearly, I should have done these line-of-sight recalls and short distance highe & seek recalls through that doorway first.
Which was well that I had not thought of that or we would not have those videos of Riam landing on my wife, or waiting on that wall until I appeared.

After all, haven't I shown many times that my foresight aint a fraction of my hindsight?

Do take note of this doorway. This will feature prominently later on when I use this to demonstrate what I have written in the comments in my prior report. Use the navigation button in Livejournal to page back to those comments.

Amonge those sequential shots was this particular sequence. It was a simple recall. But it captured a way she bled speed from her flight to land like a feather on my shoulder.

I mentioned this kind of speed bleeding in Oct 2003 with Tinkerbell in
'Harness flying with Tink'

A low level flight ending with a soaring upwards to shoulder to bled speed.

This is a shot of that particular sequence with Riamfada


Those sequential shots were in

You see Riamfada slowing dropping in elevation towards me, and in final few shots, flaring out wings to soar up and landing on shoulder with feather light touch.

It wasnt all recall recall and recall. That would be too boring for both Riam and for me.

I am laid back as you can see.
Mercilessly taken advantage of by tiny little horrid nameless and unnamed balls of orange dragged home by wifey from rubbish bin area where they rightfully belonged to.




I knew we were here in Oman on borrowed time since the end of last year. Ever since early this year, I expected I have to leave Oman and all my creatures here. If you have not known about all that and wondered why I cannot take Riamfada with me, please read the following.

Riamfada foraging // 3 days 2 nights at Wadi Bani Awf and ending of this chapter

Closing this chapter//Buwah off Harban with Dommie// Beautiful Wadi Qurai

Dedication // Raining curses on Katie at Al Felaij Dam // Riam in cage at Jabri

Mystic octopus // Snake Tshirt and more hide&seek recalls //Countdown to chapter end

It is painful enough for me as it is. So please read or re-read above before you write to me wondering why I have to leave them. Please do not make it even more painful for me to reply and tell you things I have said above because you had not read that.



An important key in your relationship and understanding your parrot mentality from Tinkerbell Legacy
Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot - Rant 03 (a flighted parrot mentality)

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 '

Making of Tinkerbell Mash
Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7


If you like the photos here, they are all taken by my wife and uploaded on my behalf by her.

She has her own sets of photos in her Flickr account here



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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