shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

Shanlung foraging for birdies // Jackie and clicker training // climate change


Below was a piece I wrote and posted into some forums.

That started a year back or so in . That consisted then only of the links. Later on in other forums, I wrote the context in and added a bit more such as in

I had seen birdies in the wild on madly swaying branches. I was very pleased when in a German forum , a video of white eyes foraging in the wild was posted to me asking for identification of the birdies and the plant. A truly ideal video to show how birdies perched and hold to thin branches in the wild. Eventually, those birdies and the plant was identifed in yet other forums I haunted. And the foraging for birdies became what you see below. But with photos and videos added into this entry in Livejournal. Only one from each of those Livejournal entries extracted here. A lot more in those livejournal entries and even more in their associated Flickr folders of course.


Foraging for birdies add so much more to their richness of life. This will make them more content and much happier. And a happy birdie will be that much friendlier and bond that much better with you.

Have a look at the foraging points I did for Riamfada. Also for all other birdies including Oberon, but it was better documented and photoed with Riamfada.
It is too complicated to write here, as without the backing photos, words are not easily understood.

Photos speak better than words.
And you will realised it is a lot easier to do then to talk about.

All these done even for my softbills as well if you have followed accounts of Libai and others.

At the perch

Riamfada foraging

On perch having discovered a delicious Syrian tiny pear grown in Jordan

Staying home with Riamfada & back2room & sharp turning

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

Riamfada love to eat the almonds on the perch. But almonds were in foraging jars. She would climb down to get the almond and then climbed up to eat that almond.

A video tells it better. More fun for her and more fun for us.

Riamfada at home//Dommie at the beach again Ramadhan 2010 //Villa walkabout 3


Riamfada last few neighbourhood walks //Riamfada at home on perches// Dommie last neighbourhood walk

You all have to understand that fully flighted birdies in the house can go just about where ever they want to go.
If you do not have places that you are contented that they go to, and they contented to go to, it can be a bloody nightmare.
If the birdie ended up where they should not be, I could righteously toss the birdie to the nice perches for them to chill out

A HUGE added advantage will be the birdie will poop at the places that they like to go and like to be.
And newspaper underneath will take care of those kind of mess.

So my fitting out for foragings was all a nefarious self serving plot of mine to get birdie to like those perching areas, to play there
and to poop there, and to stay out of my hair so I can retain whatever is left of my sanity.

For smaller size birdies such as Libai, this is whats done for foraging.
See him going to especially wobbly perches and eating from there.


Tinkerbell -Summer of 2O11 // Ivan and LiBai // LiBai voilational flights to me //

Best will be a variety in perch sizes. I used also thin perches, but those perches will always be slanting to approximate thin sloping branches. And also very wobbly as well and swaying left and right and up and down, almost like a mobile.

The birdie will have to tighten its claws around them to stay on them. To reach and get at the foraging stations fixed on those thin branches.

Good for their balancing skills, self confidence as well as allowing them to develop and exercise their clawing and leg/foot muscles as well.

Perches of different sizes from very thin to very thick should be provided.

Take a look at this youtube video of Oriental White-Eye Zosterops palpebrosus passerine song birds feeding in the wild.
As that was shot in Taiwan, the White Eyes that you have seen would have been the sub specie Zosterops japonicus simplex.
See the way they grasp at the very thin swaying branch of the Triadica sebifera or the Chinese tallowtree and you get the idea.


Jackie and clicker training

I thought I do some copy and paste of what I wrote before on clicker training.
To refresh myself. And found my thoughts on that have not changed since writing that years ago.


if you forgotten about conditioniong the clicker.

Start of clicker training - Conditioning the Clicker (Riamfada)

Clicker training - Conditioning of clicker day 1 (Yingshiong)

Tinkerbell Legacy - VH parrot and Clicker Training Rant 06

Some thoughts on clicker - The initial experience with Tinkerbell

Clicker training and bonding with Tinkerbell

if you forgotten about conditioniong the clicker.

I also thought it appropriate to bring into here something I wrote in July 2008.
This was From Muscat and clicker training


Hi folks,

This is me writing from Muscat, Oman after a couple of months or so in Dubai and after a long absence from here.

Hits to Tink site from this thread prompted me to revisit here.

With some humble comments I like to add.

It will be a big mistake if we think clicker training is merely a 'Palovian conditioning'. In which case do you accept your entire life and education to be another sort of 'Palovian conditioning'?

It will demean your beastie to be nothing but an conditioned stomach and mouth that you go on to teach 'tricks'. If you hold that mindset, then your reality and what you perceived of the reality WILL be fixed as such in your mind.

And you will forever forgo a wonderful and close relationship with your beasties that can be yours.

And just food for your thoughts. If training is just Palovian food conditioning, why did Tinkerbell and Yingshiong persisted in flying to me and overflying my wife when she clearly had food in her hands trying to distract them and I clearly had empty hands when I called them? Surely they should have gone to the food carrier rather than to me?

Clicker is not important and only a tool. But surely you would like to have a good tool. I am sure you can play good tennis with a wooden racket. But wouldn't you play even better tennis with a good graphit racket?

I find the clicker to be iconic for the training.

When I hold a clicker in the hand, my mind focus to the very moment between me and the beastie. And when my beastie saw that clicker in my hand, they focused on the training there and then raising the awareness to a point of sharpness amost akin to Zen type of awareness.

Indeed, I do not need the clicker. But why should I not use the clicker when it seemed to help so much. And when I talk of a clicker, it can be anything that make a consistent sound, which can be a pen, or tie clip.

I wrote even more in the Tinkerbell webpages.

I tried my best to bring the water to the horses, for the sake of their beasties. Horses cannot be made to drink if they choose not to drink.

If you think of clicker as Palovian conditioning, why not? Perhaps you are right and I just completely wrong.

Warmest regards



Clicker training is a good technique to train together and bond with your bird, cat, dog. And if you are really good and like greater challenge, and extremely courageous, maybe even your spouse.

I think it will be a mistake if we think Clicker training or Operant Conditioning is all that is needed. Understanding of the birdie/beastie is crucial. If you think a birdie who is afraid of you will miraculously be unafraid of you after you start clicker training, you are very wrong.

There must be a lot more , and that must be from your heart.

To rely purely on just technique alone is like an old Zen saying.
"Mistaking the finger pointing to the moon as the moon itself"

I do believe this technique is best used together with understanding your bird and his/her quirks. The training will be more meaningful and easier for both parties.

I have been conditioning the clicker with Li Bai. That had been going on the last 7 days or so. I click, pull out a small meal worm, and give that to Li Bai who ate it with relish. That done over and over again. So that Li Bai associate the sound of the clicker as a good sound.

Conditioning the clicker is a necessary and only the first step of this process. This is passive but a crucial step to the next even far more important step of 'Touch Target'. That will be when Li Bai must take a active role in the clicker training. And to understand actions will be required of him. Hopefully he will put that together in his head as a form of communicating. And extend that to me. Where he can reverse the process and take an active part in molding the training that we will be doing together. And get to better understanding of each other.

Touch Target will what we will be doing next.

I wanted Li Bai to graduate from his flight room to the rest of the apartment. To graduate , he must fly to me on recall cues.


In the above extract, substitute Jackie for LiBai and everything else remained identical. Except Jackie did not take meal worms and loved the little pieces of bread instead.

I will not use food, or with holding of food for any excuse for training. But I had no qualms in trying to maintain weight in healthy range. I felt I should keep Jackie to 174 grams.

Except while having no qualms at that, the execution was more difficult to do. I always weighed just that bit more of food. To cut it short, below were the weight of Jackie over last few days.

3 Dec 178 grams
4 Dec 181 grams
5 Dec 182 grams
6 Dec 184 grams

My will power to maintain Jackie at 174 grams was not that good.

I stopped feeding Jackie ten grams by ten grams. I never thought I could do that on a sustained basis. I did it at the beginning to give myself excuse to go often to Jackie to get him used to me. For about a week now, he got 30 grams of Jackie mash with 25 grams of fruit mash together each time. That would fill the bowl almost to the top as that bowl was designed with Yingshiong in mind who was so much smaller. Jackie got that about twice a day, late in morning and mid afternoon. And that 5 grams of mash to tempt him onto the weighing scale each morning.

I found his regular diet did not matter. When I entered his room, or when he was feeding , when I clicked, he hopped back to the door or table. And at sight of the little piece of bread, he would eat the bread. Even after he ate and ate and happily brooding on his cage perch, he perked up when he saw my clicker in hand and ready for his piece of bread.

This conditioning of clicker was deliberately done not just to condition the clicker. This was to introduce a time delay, and add anticipation of the treat which might well be as important of the treat itself.

You see that in the videos below. Where after the click, I slowly removed the cover and get to the bread to offer to Jackie, deliberately delayed to increase the anticipation.

I might be sitting on the armchair. And when I have the clicker in hand, Jackie would fly to the table to wait for me to click. He would then fly to my arm for the piece of bread. That happened at sporadic times during the day.

I had to resist the temptation of jumping to do the click when he only landed on my arm. After all, we just started and only on the conditioning of the clicker.
No reason why I had to hurry.

I still have problems on making Sieben understand and accept Jackie as family. Sieben is now very much a lap cat, when he wanted to be a lap cat. Problem is that I needed to restrained Sieben should we both be in the flight room. Sieben proved to be too energetic to be restrained. Sieben would not claw or bite me to get away. But even so, I could not truly hold him still if he did not want to. I even got a choke chain to use on Sieben hoping that could hold him in the introduction to Jackie. Except Sieben wanted to get away and appeared prepared to tear his own head off to do that. I gave up on the choke chain. I might want to try to make a Tinkerbell Harness for Sieben and see how that would go.

Before I sleep, I like to lie on the bed to read. Sieben decided I should first give him tummy rubs. Sieben would jump on the bed, pad over to me and used his head to butt me on the head purring loudly right into my ear. I felt tempted to use the choke chain to control and maybe lower the volumne of his purring to avoid being deafened by Sieben malicious purring right into my ear.

I knew events would proceed quickly, very quickly after the touch target. And I am too laid back to want to hurry the process especially when I had no idea yet on Sieben. I might just have to lock Sieben up in a room.

This was not just conditioning the clicker. It was also getting Jackie to be used to me and my wife. Jackie was now quite prepared to fly to snatch the bread from my wife.


I opened the door. Jackie was not prepared to fly deep into the living room yet. I had to stand near the door for Jackie to fly to me to get the bread.


His claws were no longer sharp. But even so, I wanted the claws to be more blunt. And so his perch extension from the cage door got altered. Amazing what an empty center of hand towel, sand paper and silicon cement can do.



The next truly important stage of touch target will begin tomorrow. That is when Jackie must walk that half of the bridge to me. That he actively participate in the training. See links at end of this page on touch target to refresh your memory.

I recalled the shock and fright of Libai when I attempted this with a garish cocktail stirrer when he saw that the first time. So I introduced the stirrer over the last few days to Jackie to make sure he got used to that first.




I will start on the touch target and beyond starting tomorrow.

Next report will let you know how that will unfold.


Climate change

The sad road from Kyoto to Durban

LiBai mash making.
About 300 grams of beef mince, with 200 grams of chicken mince and 150 grams of dried anchovies(for the calcium). That was all done up to the kitty mash formula I wrote about in
Pakistan//Tinkerbell Kitty Mash//Dommie at the beach Ramadhan 2010 //Villa walkabout 2
Instead of the almond and brazil nuts, about 100 grams of human grade groundnuts(peanuts) were used.

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

suri - Read "Conditioning clicker day 3 - and some tips on suris"

milli - read "Found the perfect treat and Yingshiong first "step up""

if you forgotten about clicker training

Tinkerbell Legacy - VH parrot and Clicker Training Rant 06

Some thoughts on clicker - The initial experience with Tinkerbell

Clicker training and bonding with Tinkerbell

To Shanlung-Charlie and clicker training

Charlie and clicker training - beyond touch target //LiBai on finger and in slow motion videos —


(edited on 4th November 2011 to include below)

To Shanlung - How to do Free Flight Outside

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

hit counter code

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.