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Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

Playing music to ducks
shanlung
When searching in the archives of Bird-Click to see if I can
find out exactly when Tinkerbell fledged, I came across this
email that you may find interesting.



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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Oct 15, 2003 11:17 pm
Subject: Playing music to ducks


During last weekend when we went off to Alishan
mountain range, we were having our breakfast when my
wife saw that caption in a Chinese newspaper.

I was intrigued when she pointed that out to me and my
feeble Chinese was still good enough to recognise that
even if I could not read the detailed story.

She told me that article was an experiment in the
county where I freeflown Tinkerbell in playing music
to ducks there so that they will remain calm.

It seems that very high frequency sounds have been
emmitted from the military/civilian airport. That
caused the ducks in the farms around to panic and
stampede trampling each other or died of shock.

It seems that 5000 ducks have died this year and they
hope playing music to the remaining ducks can calm
them.

You recalled in my detailed report of Tinkerbell's
free flight that she suddenly spooked and flew off
from my shoulder. Subsequently when I returned to
that place with Tinkerbell in harness, I mentioned
that she spooked with terror. Amonge the wild guesses
I threw up I mentioned the possibility of ultrasonic
sound emmitted by the nearby military/civilian airport
to keep birds away.

I do believe that ducks are a lot less sensitive than
parrots and Tinkerbell in particular. Yet 5000 of
them died!

Tink spooked with a GET ME OUT OF HERE! urgency.

In retrospect, perhaps it was a blessing that she
spooked and a far greater blessing that I got her
back!

I had to re-think my entire outlook on Tink, re
designed and modified the harness so that Tink can
have more freedom than many other parrots and she can
fly with more leeway than just in an apartment.

Guys, no matter how alert you are, there are
definately things that you cannot hear or see that can
spook your charge very badly, and killed 5000 ducks in
the process.





=====
With warmest regards

Shanlung
Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter

earlier emails and photo links on Tink -
http://www.geocities.com/shanlung9


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Old letters - "Some thoughts on clicker training" while trying to track down when Tink first fledged
shanlung
Am still trying to find out when Tinkerbell first fledged by going into archives.

This is one of my earliest letter. That by Aug 16, Tink was flying.

(The photo folders below are part of this letter)

Taiwan - Ghost Festival and whales watching
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanlung/sets/775505/

Taiwan - 2500 years old Confucious Festival
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanlung/sets/775571/

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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Aug 16, 2002 4:15 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Welcome, Shan!


--- iris054 <clicker@...> wrote:
> Shan, I wanted to welcome you and your wife to the
> list. I don't
> believe we've ever had anyone on the list from
> Taiwan before, so
> it's nice to see you here. You certainly speak
> English well. :)
>
> We had a post here several months back where a
> lovely Blue and Gold
> Macaw died within 24 hours of being scratched by a
> cat --

Thank you. It is nice to be in this list. My mother
tongue is English, courtesy and legacy of the old
British Empire that I was borned into (Singapore). I
am now in Taiwan on contract, working and living here.

I have been lurking in this list for about a week
learning from all my betters here and reading as much
as I can on click training and laughing at myself for
the feeble DIY click training attempts I made on my
ferret and cats in the past.

I do intend to let my Tinkerbell fly freely at a later
stage but that will require a lot more confidence in
her returning that I do not yet have now.

I feel she, and any other parrot/macaws for that
matter, is far too smart. She flies to me at my
command 'fly up'. She also flies to me without
command. She flies to me at command, to circle around
my head screaming at me and back to her cage. She
looks at me when I command and turn her back to look
the other way ignoring me totally. Then she flies to
me and snuggle , lowering her neck to get her neck
rubs, periodically looking at me and squawking away,
scampering to my shoulder to nip my ear and jumping
down to my arms for more snuggles.

In short, she is like ... well, a cat, or a wife , and
only obey commands when it suits her.

I must confess I do not have very high expectations
that bird-click (or any other places) can make her
obediant to my beck and call. I love her very much
the way she is now.

If I am wrong, that will be very nice as I can command
Tink to fly to my wife and request her to get me a
nice cool drink from the fridge. Sorry for indulging
too much into fantasy, a parrot! and a wife! obeying
the commands given to them! ha!

Kitty claws are trimmed, almost to the quick. One of
my local friends here love racing pigeons and he has
his cat. He told me even a tiny scratch can be fatal,
and two of his prize pigeons paid the price. I do not
doubt him and neither do I doubt you. I have kept
cats before, and I know them.

Encounters between them are staged carefully , to
satisfy their natural curiousity but never to
encourage familiarity. Halftail getting close is
allowed, any stalking movements gets him a shot from
the water pistol. Tink will never be out of the cage
without me or my wife to stand guard. The two will
only be allowed to get close if both me and my wife
are together, and we each hold one of them.

I feel so sorry for that B&G. I went back to the shop
where I got Tink last week and there is this GORGEOUS
B&G. My wife and I went and gave that B&G head rubs
which the macaw enjoyed. That shop owner was stunned
and we were told that macaw was fierce. I dared not
go back there again now. I was so tempted to buy her
then and my wife will agree, even though I know we
cannot afford the time to look after all (including
ourselves) and to give the love, care and time they
need.



Shanlung

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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Aug 20, 2002 4:01 pm
Subject: Some thoughts on clicker training (was: Welcome, Shan!) shanlung9
Offline
Send Email

--- iris054 <clicker@...> wrote:
>
> > and laughing at myself for
> > the feeble DIY click training attempts I made on
> my
> > ferret and cats in the past.
>
> The ability to laugh at ourselves is a very
> important part of
> clicker training. I've done a lot of it! ;)
>
> > I do intend to let my Tinkerbell fly freely at a
> later
> > stage but that will require a lot more confidence
> in
> > her returning that I do not yet have now.
>
> Are you on Chris Biro's FreeFlight list? It's an
> excellent resource
> for anyone who wants to fly their bird outdoors. I
> agree with you
> that you want a LOT of recall training and practice
> first.
>

Dear Melinda,

First of all, I thank you for your encouragement and
Tinkerbell is now into clicker training.

I am also in Freeflight and have been there for some
time. They kindly asked me to be in your group as
well.

My earlier attempts in click training failed largely
because it was DIY and I did not have any treats for
Zorro, and most important, a wrong mindset partly
because of those failed attempts. Since then, I got
treats that Zorro love and 4-5 clickers in the house
that remained unused until yesterday night.

Based on what I perceived on the changes between
Tinkerbell and me now, Zorro and Halftail will get
their click training at a later stage as well.

You recall in my earlier email that I was kind of
lukewarm about this. I liked animals and I never see
myself as a master and 'one that has to be obeyed' or
a trainer. I look at them as companions and sentient
in their own way(I already take it for granted that
they are intelligient too).

While I kept using the word 'command', I was not
comfortable with that as it goes against the grain of
having them as companions and friends. Still, there
are behaviours that I like to modify although I did
not want to impose on them to do tricks to amuse me or
others. Perhaps that is one reason why I never kept a
dog yet or got deep into 'click training'. I thought
cats be cats, ferrets be ferrets, snakes be snakes (I
had a 22 footer reticulated python from small) and
birds be birds. Your 'cueing' of me was rather good.

I was also checking out suitable treats for Tinkerbell
as those she love can be messy. It is difficult to
keep a piece of custard-like durian in the pocket to
treat her. She also loves sunflower seeds. As that
was part of her diet (together with parrot chow, 8
other different seeds and grains, vege, fruits and
stuff she begs from our plates), I did not thought of
using that.

My work and other interests means my hours back home
is not regular. AFter seeing her empty bowl in the
shop and her hunger at that stage, I told myself she
never will have an empty bowl again. She gets to eat
all she can eat. BUT as she flies very very often, I
did not have too much worry that she gets fat and
overweight.

I decided to use sunflower seeds now only as treats
and I am using the click/treat to condition her to the
clicker.

Such a simple exercise and yet, I found our bond to be
so much stronger now. The act of observing her, and
the click and the treat made me much more observent of
her then ever before. She too changed towards me,
reciprocating my more intense interest in her.

I now realise the act of training is not so much of
cute little tricks that we can get them to do, for me
it is more the intensification of the bonds between us
to embark on something and to get to know each other
more deeply by doing something together.

I will not be rushing to the next stage of targetting.
I am already enjoying so much of this new found
deeper bond between me and Tinkerbell now on just the
clicker conditioning.

And thank you for nudging me onto this path.



Shanlung &Tinkerbell
& Zorro the ferret
& Halftail (kitty with half a tail)
and Joy (gf and wife who sporadically brings me cool
drinks from time to time)

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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Aug 23, 2002 4:40 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Re: Some thoughts on clicker training shanlung9
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Send Email

Dear Melinder

I am touched that you feel that my last letter is
needed for your clicker testimonial files. That
simple letter can hardly do justice to your warm
presence and forthright helpfulness from you and from
others too like Carol and Angela just to mention a
few.

DIY in my last letter was 'Do It Yourself' which was
what I tried to click train Zorro based on half a
paragraph I read from a book.

The reticulated python I mentioned was caught by me in
the wild and about 18 inches. I kept it tame by
constant gentle handling and was never bitten by him.
Neither was my son or others that I introduced to him.
I do not think they can ever be trained by clicker or
by treat as he is fed about once every 6 weeks. It is
more the way you handle them and get them accustomed
to you. It was a sad day when I had to released him
back into the wild.

I guess I was lucky with Tinkerbell from the letters I
have been reading here about the problems that some
have with their parrots. But then, I started to read
of parrots and their behaviour 2-3 months before I
bought her and I can honestly swear that something
click in my head when we saw each other (after I seen
more than 100 greys and Amazons).

I enjoyed the last few days of c/t. The main reason I
did not move to targetting is the thought of with
holding of the click and the treat from Tink if she
does not perform.

As mentioned earlier, she is intelligent, and feisty
and perverse with me and my wife. Two days ago, I
hung one of her toy attached by a long thin chain
temporarily to her stand. I was fascinated by the way
she studied it and then using her beak to pull and her
foot to hold the chain a few times until she got her
toy to play with. That temporary arrangement is now
permanent now.

I do like her 'jokes' on us, her snatching away of
keyboard parts and other stuff from us. With the
closer bond, she gets even more demanding now on me
and my wife and vocalising even more than before.

The only blood she drew came from her very sharp claws
that I have trepidations in cutting since the last
time I caused her to bleed and bleed.

I will not be using chopstick as her target stick. We
use chopsticks all the time to eat our meals. I
cannot imagine what she will do if after being trained
to chopstick as a target and she see us sticking the
chopstick into our meals. She stuck her head into our
food enough as it is without having to give her even
more cues to do so.

When I find something suitable as a target stick, she
will be moving on to that stage, quite likely starting
early next week.



With warmest regards and a great weekend to all

Shanlung & Tinkerbell

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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Aug 27, 2002 5:36 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Re: Some thoughts on clicker training - target


Folks,

I try my best to write regularly on this list.
However, do remember I am living in a new, stunningly
beautiful country of Taiwan with some of the warmest
people here with interesting customs that I like to
join in.

Last Thursday, I went to their 'Ghost Festival' where
lanterns are lighted and send floating down rivers to
bring solace to ghosts. That was followed by the
weekend where I went to watch whales and dolphins off
the Eastern city of Hualien.

Taiwan - Ghost Festival and whales watching
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanlung/sets/775505/


P8220034



P8250118


http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanlung/sets/775505/


Confucious birthday will be coming soon where a temple
will be opened only on that day for that purpose and
ancient rites and music dating 3000 years old will be
played.

Some of the most beautiful mountains and forests with
crystal clear streams are here as well.

P9280106


Taiwan - 2500 years old Confucious Festival
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanlung/sets/775571/


But back to clicking and treating.

To get around the problem of Tink dive bombing on us
should we eat with chopsticks at home, I used a
cocktail stirrer.

AFter trying to wrest it from me for the first minute,
he got the idea to touch it for his c/t. I made her
go up and down, left and right.

I then introduced that she is to do it at vocal cue
'touch'. She did it all.

Standing 5 feet away from her, I asked her to 'touch
target' and she flew to me to 'touch target' earning
herself lots of hugs and treats.

She did not turn into an automaton as I feared. After
classes, she remains as feisty as ever and giving her
opinions as freely as before.

If any of you should be in Taiwan, you are welcomed to
my apartment where you know your Chinese meals can be
eaten safely without fear of losing your chopsticks.

Your drinks best be taken 'shaken and not stirred'.
Unpredictable results may occur should you persist on
stirring your drinks.



With warmest regards

Shanlung and Tinkerbell

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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Sep 11, 2002 5:18 pm
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Re: Some thoughts on clicker training - target


Dear Liz,

After deleting and deleting over a thousand mail sight
unread, I finally got to where I last left off.

After some time of twiddling thumbs in the office
(which allowed me to read mails from mailing lists), I
was hit by a load of work that buried me beyond my
eyeballs.

When that load cleared and I thought I can get back to
mailing list again, typhoon Sinlaku dropped by in my
region for a visit. The satellite images promised
senarios of flood and general mayhem in Taiwan but
Sinlaku left with a whimper after forcing an enforced
holiday with everyone here.

I have thought of a good solution if you or anyone
decide to drop in to Taipei for a drink with me and
you want your drinks stirred.

I will be happy to serve your drink with a pair of
chopsticks. It may not be elegant.

But you can cheer yourself that TInkerbell will not
swoop down on your cocktail. You can even use the
pair of chopsticks to take out the olive for a nibble
or two between the sips.

With warmest regards

Shanlung


--- NATUREWO@... wrote:
>
> > If any of you should be in Taiwan, you are
> welcomed to
> > my apartment where you know your Chinese meals can
> be
> > eaten safely without fear of losing your
> chopsticks.
> >
> > Your drinks best be taken 'shaken and not
> stirred'.
> > Unpredictable results may occur should you persist
> on
> > stirring your drinks.
> >
> shan...
>
> you are too funny! i can just picture an
> unsuspecting guest at your home
> having a cocktail with you and getting dive-bombed
> by your bird and watching
> it fly off with the stir-stick! LOL
>
> liz w and kallee b&g


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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu Aug 15, 2002 11:17 am
Subject: Re: [Bird-Click] Tracie and parrots and ferrets and kitty

Tracie,

I am amazed that you have quite a few ferrets.
Cleaning the litter tray of my kitty and ferret is
already as much as I can handle with my wife taking
care of Tinkerbell's mess.


I am touched by your concern for Tinkerbell and Zorro.

I am extremely wary and they are only out at together
the same time under watchful eyes. Tinkerbell will
likely be on my shoulders while Zorro and Halftail
have their mock fights at my ankles.

Tink is fully flighted with very good flight controls
including hovering and making aerial acrobatic turns
in the air. Her initial clumsy attempts at flying is
way behind her now. She never ventured onto the floor
which is a big relief for me.

I tried clicker training with Zorro on my own before I
knew of existence of groups on the web. That training
did not last long but lurking here make me want to
restart that with Zorro as well as with Tinkerbell.

I am actually more wary of Halftail and Tinkerbell.
Zorro cannot jump but the kitty can go where
Tinkerbell goes. Early stalking movements from
Halftail towards Tink were immediately arrested by a
water pistol never far from me. We constantly pet and
stroke each of them in clear sight of others to let
them know we are all family. Relationships are a lot
more amicable between all now but me and my wife will
always remain watchful whenever Tinkerbell is out of
the cage.








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First introductory letter on Tinkerbell
shanlung

free webpage hit counter




Early Tinkerbell
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanlung/sets/775606/



I am trying to pinpoint when Tink first fledged with me.


P8220005

I do not think I could have done this without that recent visit
to Tinkerbell in June/July 2005. That trip healed me to a large extent.

My hard disk from that time died a horrible death and with
a most mournful cry sometime in December 2002. The death of that hard disk
was bizarre. One day, I relate the entire story. You may even say that was
a fantastic series of coincidence. But that touched on events even
more strange than what I related about Ivan my cat. And I have had enough
of brickbats thrown at me for that issue. For those curious about Ivan, read
http://www.geocities.com/shanlung9/ivan1.html

Not only Tink photos and letters I wrote from that time, but the
digital photos of my travelling along path less trodded. I stepped
off the pages of Lonely Planet to walk on some of those
paths in the wild reaches of Yunnan, EmeiShan, WudangShan mountains
and Tibet in search of martial artists and their traces of historical
and almost mythical martial artists and sunrises and sunsets.

The email exchanges on martial arts, stuff and other old
memories of those travels were lost in that flash when the HD died.
(I still lugged about with me that died hard disk. Maybe one day it will
be resurrected again giving me back a period of my past otherwise
lobotomised from me.)

I did find some photo folders that did escaped as they were
on another hard disk, but the vast bulk of the early days in
Taipei are residing in that hard disk that died.

I will be uploading them onto Flickr soon.

I did not write much at that time on Tinkerbell unlike the
last few years. The price I paid now for that ommission is
that those moments are now cloaked in a haze of half memories.

Those that I wrote about will remain forever fresh in my mind,
in retrospect, well worth the time I spend in writing them down.
Now they are on the web, immuned to hard disk crashing in my PC.

This seemed to be that first letter written to a list here and detailed
out some the earlier life of Tink.

So at least by Jul 26 2002 , Tinkerbell was already flying about and
had been doing that for 7 weeks and already with us for 2 months.

That meant I got Tink perhaps in mid May 2002 and she fledged just a
week after she joined me and my wife.

You can guage how the rate her early flying prowess increased from those
early letters. Those letters can be found in the archives of Free Flight.

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Letter into FreeFlight

From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Jul 26, 2002 12:26 pm
Subject: Tinklebell in Taipei


Hi folks, I am happy to be here via a redirection from
.... when I popped into there to ask innocently about
how to take care of my free flying Tinklebell.

I will attached my earlier letters by means of intro.

letter 1

Hi,

I am the co-companion of Tinklebell (our very first
parrot) and ferret and kitty with half tail living
with us in Taipei, Taiwan.

We nearly clipped our parrot feathers on advise from a
couple of parrot books when we read in a parrot mag
which fervently request no clipping of feathers.

After painfully watching her flying into walls, and
screen doors for a couple of days, we are very happy
now to have her flying about the apartment to our
shoulders and hoovering about with excellent flight
control.

Are there many CAG/TAG owners here with unclipped
birds?

Have any of such owners taken the bird on outings with
confidence that the bird will return? If so, how is
that training done?

Thanks

Shanlung

letter 2
Sorry to hear of your back. I hope you are better
now.

I do know that painful feeling that your bird is gone.
Once I came to the living room to find Tinklebell
gone and a side door opened.

It was a horrid sinking feeling before I found
Tinklebell flew to another room and happily chewing
the spines off my books.


Still, I find the people in Taiwan love their pets,
and if that day comes that Tinklebell flies off, I
take comfort that she is likely to be loved and well
looked after here.

When I get home, she flies to my shoulder and gently
nibble at my ear. She flies to my hand from the stand
at my command, sometimes making a mock dive at me
before circling around and landing. If we leave her
alone too long, she will fly to our bedroom
complaining away perching high up on the shelf.

Bear in mind we have a ferret and a kitty as well.

I do not think I will ever clip her wings now.

I recalled going to bird shows at zoological gardens
to see parrots and macaws and hornbills being released
to fly around big open auditorium to land on their
trainers.

When I was in Changmei, Thailand a year ago, I had
this memorable sight of an expat resident walking down
the road with his cockatoo perched on his shoulder
free flying and landing back on him again and again.

People with raptors do take their birds out to hunt
and they do return.

I do have the thought of eventually taking Tinklebell
outside and do seek the advice of all interested
parties here as to the steps to take.

Thanks

Shanlung

letter 3
You are right.

The books I read (and that was a month before I bought
Tinklebell) advising to clip the wings were written by
Americans

The magazine I read was printed in UK which fervently
asked us not to clip the wings.

As mentioned in the earlier letter, I had a
'near-death' experience when I thought my lovely
Tinklebell was gone.

My instinct was to reach for the scissors there and
then to stop such shock ever happening to me again.

I am glad I hold my hand, even in times when she
choses to irritate us in ways only free flying parrots
are capable of.

She gets out of her cage for about 45 mins in the
morning before I go to work. Doors and screendoors
are kept closed and double checks made before she is
out.

My wife will give her about 2 hours later in the day
before she does something naughty to be back into the
cage.

She is forgiven generally before I get back home, and
if that is so, will fly to greet me and complain to me
of my 'un-understanding' wife.

She will remain out until we go out whereby she gets
back into the cage until our return.

She gets back into the cage by 12 midnight.

Thanks for the lead that you gave me. I just signed
up with them for their mailing list.

I will remain here and let you guys know of this path
that I will be walking on.

Regards

Shanlung

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From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Jul 26, 2002 4:06 pm
Subject: Re: [Freeflight] Tinklebell in Taipei part 2

I do hope you guys here do not object terribly to my
reposting of my earlier letters I wrote to
this place.

My earlier letters seem to be out of place elsewhere and
better suited to here. With the conclusion in this
letter, Freeflight will be up-to-date with all that I
wrote.



letter 4
Subject: Re: free flight - last words on this
issue

I like to thank all the replies on this issue.

The URLs that have kindly pointed out to me have been
most informative.

I will not quarrel even with some of the more extreme
opinions as I do realised their concerns stemmed from
their real fear that Tinkerbell/Tinklebell may fly off
never to return to me.

We love her as much as you love any of your parrots.

Knowledgable members have informed us that Tinklebell
is 6-7 months old, still having black tipped tail and
black iris turning to grey about 2-3 weeks ago.

We took her home 2 months ago. Our apartment is
screened up very adequately against the mosquitoes.
Initially, it was unbearable to watch her clumsy
crashing into walls before she gained the skills and
control after 4-5 days or so. Her wings were nearly
clipped at that stage out of fear for her safety.
Good confident flying is not easy and it is
understandable how frightening it must be for the bird
initially.

She is free flying around the apartment for about 7
weeks now. Her control is so good that she can hoover
like a humming bird pretending to land on the head
before changing to the hand.

In addition to 'step up' , 'fly up' 'fly to stand'
'fly to cage' are amonge the requests that she respond
to, though not all the time. We weighed her 3 days
ago to be 375 gms.

Eventually, I will take her out, but not before I find
out all the details or about two months time.

I will not be writing about that here though as I do
not wish to cause pain to some of the members.

Thanks again


letter 5

Subject: Re: Waiting long time for our boys
and girls
Hi Martha,

I have always being fascinated by parrots.

This became more intense after I watched on National
Geographic a documentary on Alex about a couple of
years back. To know that parrots are sentient kind of
blew my mind.

It became close to a fever when I accompanied a friend
who also yearned for a parrot and the little grey
there made overtures at me. I knew I was going to
leave the country to work in Taiwan and that was the
main reason I did not buy that grey there and then.

P6280001

(Tinkerbell when she was very young and before she became Tinkerbell the flying Grey of Taiwan

This guy provided the two triggers to entwine my life with Tinklebell. The first was 40 years ago when I taught his dad grey a colorful phrase that we then fed with black label to get the grey drunk to forget those words said in my voice too. The 2nd trigger was when he took me to a parrot shop just before I came to Taiwan.
No , he do not have any parrot or bird. You can see him lurking in the shadow behind Joy and the M2 in the folder www.flickr.com/photos/shanlung/sets/689736/
He visited me in Taipei with his wife shortly after Tinkerbell came to me.)





AFter I kind of settle down here, I got serious enough
to buy a parrot behaviour book (which almost
religiously advocate clipping of feathers) and read
through that while making sorties into bird shops
looking at greys and greens.

A month after that on one of our forays, Tinklebell
caught our eyes and it was love at first sight.

We waited long and we waited hard for our girl.

We like the best life for her and are prepared to walk
that extra mile for her happiness and comfort. When I
now see her flying about the apartment so happily and
so full of energy, I find it difficult to visualised
her in any other way.


I know you love your bird.

Be assured we treasure Tinklebell very very much too.

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