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Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

Some letters on harness usage on parrots
shanlung
.

Here are a couple of recent letters written on harness usage on parrots.

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From: "shanlung9" <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:00 pm
Subject: Re: Free flying - it gets more complicated

--- In F...t@yahoogroups.com, "B... Van H.."
wrote:
>
>
>
> > If you take your flighted parrot and fly only in totally enclosed
> > warehouse and gym and office spaces, that is considered as free
> > flying.
>
> Nope, free flying is the list lingua for outdoor flying,
unrestricted. This
> means without harness, without wires.
>
> >
> > If you fly your parrot in the apartment and outside around the
> > apartment
>
> Shanlung, did (or do) you fly your birds unrestricted outside
around your
> home. I know you did this in the beginning and then you decided to
fly only
> with a harness.
>
> > BUT if you in addition decided to train your parrot
> > to wear harness to join you in day long mountain walks and riding
> > your motorbike with you and in far away parks and seasides,
members
> > here will come up with all kinds of caveats and rejoinders that
you
> > never free fly your parrot.
>
>
> > That you ever fly your parrot outside in
> > vicinity of home without harness will be totally ignored.
>
> I thought you stopped this after you lost Tinkerbell once. Tell me
I'm
> wrong
>
>
>

In the last couple of months before I left Taiwan, the harness was
taken off Tinkerbell after I parked my bike on the streets around the
apartment. But without the harness in the first place to take her
out that often to develope her poise and confidence (and my own
confidence too) , she would never have been allowed to free fly.

I mentioned that now and then in emails such as on 10 Oct 2004. I
could not find that here in Freeflight. Some of the stuff thrown at
me such as comparison to my harness line like an anchor chain on
Tinkerbell was hurtful and perhaps for a time, I just did not bother
to post into here or even to come into FF. I had so little time left
and I rather maximised my own happiness or minimised any aggravation
to me during that period.


But this can be seen in groups like bird-click. Since I wrote so much
in the email, my mention that she flew around outside the apartment
could be missed as that was at the end.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bird-Click/message/22108

This can be read here if you are not member of bird click

http://www.geocities.com/shanlung9/wtink09b4chapterends.htm


Around the apartment was not an attractive place to take photos and
also, as that was at the end of the outings to parks and other
places, the light was fading and I would not have used flash even if
I did thought of taking photos of her.

I never wrote much about her free flying around the building. I never
thought that to be important enough to write about then, other than
in passing remarks.

I was so short of time during that period and I had other travels
that we did I was trying to finished for posting as well as other
travels we were doing that I wanted to write about.



Shanlung


http://www.geocities.com/shanlung9

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From: "shanlung9" <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Jan 13, 2006 2:09 pm
Subject: Re: Free flying - it gets more complicated -jd (and all others too)

Gee!

Thanks folks, I do feel a lot more better now. Even if my
advice on durians fell on closed hearts and deaf ears, APPROPRIATE
harness usage can still be considered as not some evil purple thingy
to sprinkle holy water against.


Chris, if you have not read my writings, I always said harness and
line is an intermediate stage before total free flight. And that

"
Either you are as good as Chris (and that is YOU) and need no harness
or you are as bad as me (that is ME) and need to use a harness"

But then Taiwan mountains and country are so out of this world and
so hauntingly beautiful. Despite my constant travels in Taiwan.
there are still 70% of areas I had not been to yet.

I know more of the real dangers of harness than the imagined dangers
that people who had not used them can conjure.

Harness usage on flying birds is never to be taken lightly. I have
such a paranoia approach that my writings on harness are more on
warnings than how to use and make it. To the extent how to make the
harness had been complained about as 'invisible' and 'never found'.

People only see what they want to see. My main worry is that people
immediately go and buy a commercial harness where 'one size fits all'
without the understanding to use it. Some of those commercial
harness are so loaded with hardware and spring loaded thingies that
they can be given as a Christmas present to the ghost of Jacob Marley
to be dragged and clanged about.

If anyone think that harness usage is easy from what I had done, that
was because I wrote only the outings, and a little bit of the very
involved training BEFORE the harness and DURING the harness itself.

If you do suffer from insomnia, and if you have not done so, read
the daily reports I am making into the training of Yingshiong the
shama. That actually reflected on the daily training I had with
Tinkerbell, as involved as that on Yingshiong, but never recorded.

Perhaps you have more respect for Barbara Heidenreich. She
recognised that me and Tinkerbell was not just a stuffing of Tink
into a harness but an involved process of painstaking training and
bonding.

See what she said in
http://www.parrotchronicles.com/2005/features/harness/harness.htm

(by the way, that grey in the photo wore a harness that should be
gifted to the ghost of Jacob Marley)

To answer JD question, I can only extract a portion of a letter
written here which he did not read.

That letter is "Harness to Nick and folks" , an extremely long letter
even by my standard and sure cure for insomnia.
http://www.livejournal.com/~shanlung/2005/06/10/

That was posted into FreeFlight in June 10, 2005 or thereabouts.

( Chris and JD, the first paragraph seems familiar to you?)

The extract.
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She rarely snag the line. Even when she did, I wrote in detail how to
handle those snagged lines which seemed never to be read , or read
and disbelieved in, or read and totally forgotten as snagging in
trees pop up now and again as a snug reason as to why harness should
not be used.

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'
scenerio'.

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

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
direction.

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.

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I know I flew Tink near trees and even in and among trees. I cannot
advise people to do what we had done, or they should reflect that the
training and bonding that Tink and I did together to do that must be
acheived by you before you wish to try that.

They forgot we did that for a long time far far away from trees
before we went into the trees.

And as for JD and his horror of horrors of flying near utility posts,
can I humbly suggest to JD he should find an area away from utility
posts? It may be less painful for him to stand under a fruiting
durian tree.

But if JD insist on flying anything on line around utility posts, my
rememberance to him will be an entry of his deed for the Darwin
awards to join the other illustrous nominees there.

http://www.darwinawards.com/



Shanlung

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From: "shanlung9" <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:42 pm
Subject: it gets more complicated -jd (and all others too) and now to Chris

--- In Freeflight@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Biro" <chrisbiro@s...>
wrote:
>
> Hello Shanlung,
>
> > Chris, if you have not read my writings, I always said harness and
> > line is an intermediate stage before total free flight. And that
>
> You and I will always disagree over RECOMMENDING the use of a
harness. This
> does not mean that you do not caution people about a harness'
dangers or
> that I claim a harness has no value in training. We disagree over
the issue
> of if the use of a harness is worth taking the risks associated
with using a
> harness. You say the harness is worth taking those risks, I say the
risks
> are too great to make the use worth taking. This of course does not
mean
> that I do not value your participation on the list. You are not the
only
> person that holds a position on the list that I disagree with. I
think the
> ability to disagree and still hold polite conversation about the
subject is
> part of what makes this list so valuable. Your position about the
use of a
> harness SHOULD be stated on this list and mine should also, thus
giving the
> reader the ability to decide for themselves.

Using of harness definately has its risks, especially done by people
who are out for a quick-fix to their unwillingness to train and
unpreparedness to find out more and the usage of utterly ill designed
harnesses commercially available.

Many times I sat on my hands and read in dismay at the stuff I read
on harnesses for parrots ( in here and other lists including non
English).

I thought of keeping quiet, but then the thought of people like JD
coming along with advice to them compelled me to try to save the
baby while others are admiring or cursing the bath waters.

The harness and leash (a proper well designed and fitted to your
parrot, which exclude any commercial harnesses) is appropriate to
familiarise your parrot to the surroundings that you intend to free
fly her/him in.

HARNESS AND LEASH ARE NOT APPROPRIATE TO TRAINING YOUR PARROT TO COME
TO YOU ON RECALLS. RECALLS MUST BE GROUNDED INTO YOUR PARROT PRIOR
USAGE OF HARNESS. RECALLS IN CLOSED ENVIRONMENT (SEMI FREEFLIGHTS IN
WAREHOUSE/GYM MUST BE DONE PRIOR TO HARNESS USAGE OUTSIDE).

For such familiarisation, the leash must be kept short AND
CARABINERED TO YOUR BODY OR BACKPACK. NEVER EVER HOLD THE LEASH OR
LOOP AROUND YOUR HAND.



>
> > I know more of the real dangers of harness than the imagined
dangers
> > that people who had not used them can conjure.
>
> Just wanting to clarify here, that I am NOT stating "imagined
dangers"
> associated with use of a harness. I once used a tether and some
crude jesses
> and had one of my birds become entangled in a tree. Luckily for us,
she was
> entagled low enough that I could reach her by setting up a ladder
on the
> roof of my truck. But the experience was enough to show me how
easily such
> accidents can happen. And having recovered enough loose parrots, I
have seen
> birds in some trees that would simply impossible to recover the
bird from. I
> have also watched experienced bird people let a pet parrot sit
unattended on
> a T perch with a loose tether attached to them. All the bird needed
to do
> was become startled and fly off and it and the tether could have
been in a
> tree beyond reach. So just to be clear, I do not consider these
experiences
> to represent "imagined dangers".

Chris,

Your 'experienced bird people' may be experienced in keeping birds.
They do not seemed to be that experienced in keeping birds outside
if they let their pet parrot sit unattended in the open. Why do
such 'experienced' people bother to tether the parrot and allow the
other end to be loose?

If people do bungee jumping by attaching bungee to their feet and
forgetting to attach the other end and ended up as a smear on the
ground, are we going on to blame the bungee?

I rather study that smear, the bungee and note the end was not tied
and advice all other future jumpers to make sure and doubly sure the
ends are tied, and that they use the correctly designed bungees.
Even so, I still will tell them that there are risks with bungee
jumpings as there are risks with harness usage on flighted parrots.

There are also risks in clipping the wings.

I plagiarised a portion from my extremely long letter that tried to
summarise all you need to know on harness usage on parrots

http://www.livejournal.com/~shanlung/2005/06/10/

That extract

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The assumption people made that as their parrots are clipped they
cannot fly away. This assumption is so seriously wrong that it is
painful to me.

It is not much use to test if the clip is sufficient. Most likely
the test depended more on seeing a calm bird can fly or not. If
calm, even a bird not clipped and is a flier as well just will not
fly away.

So that clipped parrot may glide or flap the wings and flap and glide
a longer distance. Those pseudo 'tests' give people false sense of
confidence and thereby dropping their guard totally.

And those owners in their ignorant bliss pet themselves on their
backs and nod that their birds have wonderful clips and is safe and
cannot fly away.

BUT, in times of stress and when the bird is spooked, they will fly
away. Those people have never seen the power of a bird that is
spooked. They never can test their clipped parrots when they are
spooked, by a car horn going off suddenly, by a sudden gust of wind,
by a dog barking, by that lady walking past with a strange hat, and
they think all is 'safe'.

I reckoned more clipped parrots have been lost then flighted parrots.

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As for snagging on trees, I have had better experience than you. Even
so, the harness that I designed will come loose with one cut on the
body leash as that hold in place the body strap.

It is also paramount the main line MUST be free of splice and knots.
This enabled the line to run freely and not be caught in branches.
If caught by tree, the line between the bird and the caught branch be
located and brought down to you. It is thus essential that the line
MUST be long, even if you do not chose to use its entire length. You
need the spare length to dis-entangle from branches.

TO THOSE READING THIS, DO NOT FLY YOUR PARROT ON LEASH NEAR TREES
EVEN IF YOU SEE ME DOING IT IN MY PHOTOS. I SPEND A LONG LONG TIME
WITH TINKERBELL AWAY FROM TREES AT THE BEGINNING.


>
> > People only see what they want to see. My main worry is that
people
> > immediately go and buy a commercial harness where 'one size fits
all'
> > without the understanding to use it. Some of those commercial
> > harness are so loaded with hardware and spring loaded thingies
that
> > they can be given as a Christmas present to the ghost of Jacob
Marley
> > to be dragged and clanged about.
>
> You are such a great author! This is a wonderful picture you paint
here LOL.
>
> > If anyone think that harness usage is easy from what I had done,
that
> > was because I wrote only the outings, and a little bit of the very
> > involved training BEFORE the harness and DURING the harness
itself.
>
> Yes training is the key. But that has also been my second point
about the
> use of a harness, that using training you can avoid the use of a
harness and
> thus avoid the risks associated with its use. I don't understand
the desire
> to spend all this time TRAINING the use of a harness when you could
be
> TRAINING for flight without a harness. Look at how long you have
used a
> harness. That to me seems to suggest that the harness CAN become a
> substitute for training flight or adequate recall response. I know
you had a
> frightful experience with Tink but those kinds of experiences can
be part of
> this training if you move too quickly or focus on the wrong areas.
>
> Of course it is not my place to decide what is best for you to do.
And I am
> sure that what ever approach you take, your accounts of them will
be
> valuable to this list.

Training is the key. Without the advice and guidance from you and
others during my beginning, I would not be where I am now.

Together with the advice and guidance from others since then, I have
taken a road that branched off from yours. Those people are my bird
whisperer friend from Tsaoling and Joe who feed unidentified meat
with jewelry to his tigers. I took what I can and where I can.

Since you do not read long letters that I have written in the past, I
need to describe something of myself from those letters that you
might have missed.

My inclination is very different from yours. My pen name, Shanlung,
is chinese for Mountain Dragon, and chosen because I love to roam
about in mountains, in Tibet, Yunnan, etc before I even went to
Taiwan. Taiwan with its massive mountain ranges and forests are
where I spend much of my spare time.

Tinkerbell was my companion and daughter that me and my wife wanted
to share that kind of travels with. If you have not seen my
photographs, you cannot imagine how rugged those places are. Those
are not places that you want to free fly in.

Nothing that you and others taught could prepare any unrestrained
parrot to travel alongside those places we travelled, short of
stuffing them into a carrier cage. We were out many times from dawn
to dusk. Since there were so many places, to go to just one place to
be that familiar enought to free fly with meant the other places had
to be forfeited.

So what I chose to do was deliberately chosen. We could not spend
enough time in a place to take that harness off during our travels.
The only place the harness was off was around the apartment and at
home (and in hotels and inns we stayed in).

There are many others who might just want to take their parrots
(flighted or clipped) out with them safely to other beautiful and
unfamiliar places. A well designed and properly fitted harness and
line (TOGETHER WITH THE TRAINING AND AWARENESS) is their best bet.

You have written privately to me, and I appreciate that of you and I
hope you do not mind me writting that here , that one of your fears is
"simply because I lack faith in the average person's ability
to keep their bird out of trouble."

My view is different from yours, but not that much, as I have little
faith in the average person's ability to keep their bird out of
trouble.

It is so easy to get things wrong that at times, I am fearful of
talking of harness usage. If people cannot even find the directions
how to make the harness in my writings, it may be even more likely
they wrongly interpret what they might read.

If from what they read of me and intepret flying with harness is
dangerous and difficult but can be done, then I have gone some way in
passing the baton to them, the way you and others passed it to me in
my beginning.

If I convinced you that 'flying with harness is dangerous and
difficult but can be done,' then that is a bonus I did not expect but
will be happy for.


Shanlung




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Note: Normal weight range of shama is 28 - 32 grams
from the information below .

http://www.honoluluzoo.org/white-rumped_shama.htm



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

www.durrellwildlife.org/

or to WWF or other conservation bodies of your choice







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Hide&Seek101/YS doing pure recall in PC room
shanlung
.

"HAHAHA! stubborn shama likes to play with you on the light socket issue. he is beautiful. and yes, i have read that small birds love to play with bead toys. i have a dove and he adores his hanging bead toys and bells.

try a little bell next. i bet Y will love it!
"

So commented Sunseed to yesterday report.

After 4 nights and 4 attempts to dissuade YS from his powerpoint socket bed, his determined attempt to sleep there last night made me throw in the towel on myself.

I never known of small birds playing with toys, but Sunseed obviously read more widely than me. I know parrots, and grey in particular needed toys. And you can see from the photos of Tinkerbell's cage, she had even more toys than I had when I was small.

Joy was delighted that YS love those beady toys she created, so she created even more today. And yes, among the toys for YS yesterday, one of them was a tiny bell. Joy even cannibalised our niece/nephew Lego sets to get even more toys in readiness for YS tomorrow.

But back to this morning.

YS was singing well when I woke up at 8 am. Ivan was also meowing at me looking annoyed I woke up depriving him of his role as my alarm clock. Eventually YS was let in while I made and had my breakfast. He allowed me to weigh his MM at 38.1 gm or .2 less than last evening. I added fresh MM to 38.6 gm. He was following all that and he flew in landing on the scale to tip it at 31.9 gm. That was at 9 15 an.

With a box of very small mealworms and millis, we went into the apartment to play. He was thoroughly at home in living and dining room. Pure recalls, shoulder recalls and hovering recalls at different parts were done very cleanly. Its difficult to get long flights from him now. In the past, he preferred to perch on the fan even as I moved further from him into the dining area and kitchen door and then he returned to the fan. But with his new confidence in the apartment, after he got his treat from me, he would perch on the most convenient chair or light to wait for my cues. Sometimes, he even did premptive flights. Should he see me digging for a milli to do a hovering recall, he would fly over and hover and wait for me to complete the holding of the milli for him to pluck off.

He was doing so well and so used to the living and dining area that I decided to introduce him into hide&seek101. After a recall and toss of him back to a chair, I slowly moved myself around the corner into the corridor out of his sight. All the time, talking to him so his eyes were on me as I slowly disappeared. I did a recall on him, to no response. I moved back into sight and recalled. He came for his milli. I kicked myself for not taking the suri box. I moved out of sight again to do recall. He did not come. I came back into his line of slght and he came to my recall.

We then went into the PC room, very dignifed with him perched on my shoulder. The HIMB technique was truly a thing of the past that we both outgrown. But of course, he would get a milli or two during our walk into the PC room.

With him on the fan in the PC room, I did a pure recall. He flew over for his click and treat. As he flew and perched about on top of bookshelf, on back of chair and on the fan, he did all his pure recalls and hovering recalls to me.

We went back to flight room. I weighed him again to be 32.6 from all his treats. I ripped off the plastic I tried to block his bed with. YS was so incredibly stubborn on his sleeping perch that I surrendered. I compromised. I silicon glue a piece of chopstick so he would sleep on the further 2/3 of the cover away from the mesh so his tail will not press against that. He was there sleeping on his powerpoint cover at this time of writing.

While he stayed in the living/dining room singing away, I retired smb1 and harvested suris and millis from smb2. There were so many baby suris and gravid suris that I transported a small box of it to smb1.

The small size mealworms were harvested as well. He did not like the full size mealworms, but the small mealworms the same size as millis were loved by him. They are all collectively called millis.

We wemt back to PC room for me to use Internet (as you can see from the entry earlier today) while YS played in the PC room with his toys.

Little training was done. But now and then, I gave him a milli now and then to say hello and to let him know what a nice guy I was.

At 1040 am, he was weighed again to be 32.2 gm.

At 1 30 pm, the MM was at 38.1 gm. I topped that up to 38.5 gm. YS was at 32.8 gm. He was given a succulent cricket to push him immediately up to 33.2 gm

Later in the afternoon, we all went to the PC room. He must be full as he was not keen on recalls or the millis. After a while, I thought he should be thirsty. He did a step up and as we walked out of the PC room, to my surprise, he flew off my hand and flew back into the PC room. I tried that again. As I walked in the corridor and reached the dining area, he flew off me again and back into the PC room. After resisting me earlier on, he indicated he quite liked the PC room now. Eventually, he flew off and back into his flight area.

At 4 pm, I weighed the MM as I was curious how much he ate. The MM was at 38.4 gm. So the dieting I imposed on him was not that bad after all.

It was at 630 pm that the next weighing was done. His MM was not 38.1 gm. I topped that to 38.4 gm and replaced into his cage unlike yesterday when I withhold it until he slept. If he chose it eat all of it and be hungry in morning, that would be his choice. YS was at 33.0 gm.

After he slept, I weighed his MM bowl to be 38.2 gm.








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Note: Normal weight range of shama is 28 - 32 grams
from the information below .

http://www.honoluluzoo.org/white-rumped_shama.htm



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

www.durrellwildlife.org/

or to WWF or other conservation bodies of your choice







free webpage hit counter