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Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

on harness and mirrors / YS accepted the loop and got his backrub

Patitamofi commented
I like that image, fit for Jacob Marley's ghost! I was using the "flite suit" bird diaper combo, only because it looked like it would be lightweigt and easier to get on the parrot than the commercial harnesses. I've followed your harness development with great interest, as it seems that something like that might work for my pionus. Ying Shiong sounds so spirited--I can picture him doing all kinds of things around your finger and never letting it near his back. He's a very talented little fellow!

As you can see, I have very low regards for the commercial harnesses. Here is another snippet from another post I made on harness posted on 23 Jan 2005 in the free flight group.


But also remember you got so many more years ahead of you that it
will be best you do not rush at the beginning.

One thing for sure, you must not attempt to fly with harness PRIOR to
flight in enclosed areas such as your factory.

She MUST be flown a few times in enclosed areas before you even think
of flying her in harness. You can take her out to be familiar with
the area PROVIDED that the leash is short and ALWAYS CARABINERED TO

And harness is a generic name. There are horrors out there in the
*spit* commercial harnesses where they believed in *one size fits
all*. Failing that, they then persuade you that buckles , bows,
bells and whistles and all stuff short of the kitchen sink can be
used to *adjust* that harness to size.

Harness flying has its risks. Those risks can only be minimised with
understanding of the harness, the material used and the conditions
and prior training.

You want the best harness, one that you understand and make yourself
and fitted exactly to your parrot.

Will you go bungee jumping with bungee cords instead of using the
right kind of bungees used for bungee jumping? Such as below?

You want to do the same with the harness for her?




Bungee Jumper
1997 Darwin Awards Runner-Up
Confirmed True by Darwin
(13 July 1997, Virginia) Eric A. Barcia, a 22-year-old Reston, VA
resident, was found dead yesterday after he used bungee cords to jump
off a 70-foot railroad trestle, police said.

The fast food worker taped a number of bungee cords together and
strapped one end around his foot. Barcia had the foresight to anchor
the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, and he even
remembered to measure the length of the bungee cords to make sure
that they were a few feet short of the 70 foot drop. He proceeded to
fall headfirst from the trestle, and hit the pavement 70 feet below
several seconds later.

Fairfax County police said "The stretched length of the cord that he
had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and
the ground." Perhaps the deceased fast food worker should have stuck
to the line, "Do you want fries with that?"

DarwinAwards.com © 1994 - 2006
Submitted by Basil Trikas
Reference: Washington Pos


Do take great care with that flight suit. They are part of the *spit* commercial harnesses that can cause you a lot of grief. More details of the design flaws of commercial harness (like the DIY bungee cord above) can be read in "Harness for flighted parrots - To Nick and folks"


You will agree a harness, especially the flawed *spit* commercial harnesses, are useless if the leash is no longer on the harness. In all cases of commercial harness (and flight suit) , they use a spring loaded clip thingy wingy to attached the leash to the harness. Tinkerbell unclipped that in half a second flat. We were then walking in a mist shrouded road, along side of a mountain with 500 meters drop on one side and a 400 meter cliff on the other side. You want to pray that your parrot is so much more stupid than Tinkerbell that he/she cannot figure out how to undo that clip?

Read the details that might give you nightmares in
"More development of Tink harness during trip to Taiwan Alishan mountain"

I was lucky. Will you be that lucky?

The photo folder in this case should be seen photo by photo instead of by slideshow. The slide show will not show you the comments which are in parallel but different from that written report.


YS was not singing this morning. I turned my head to look at the clock and it was relatively early (Idiot lazy Ivan did not wake me up if you are wondering).
I was slightly concerned but he flew in and looked OK. I was not that concerned to not finish my breakfast first and watched the news.

At 915 am, he was weighed to be 31.1 gm. So he was not about to keel over and drop dead from starvation. He sang when he was at 30.3 or so a few days ago. I decided that YS was just being bloody minded and chose not to sing.

The milli box was at 20.5 gm, the suri box was at 71.1 gm (if you wondering why so heavy, there were two boxes, a covered box within a larger box to stop escapees, and three tweezers to hold suris in readiness for YS) and the cricket box at 30.0 gm with 4 succulent crickets zapped.

I did a couple of short recalls for warmups. Then as I was walking to the apartment door, YS took off and flew alongside of me hovering slowly above my shoulder to keep pace with me. We can say he was greedy or hungry for food. But I liked to think he might just liked to be with me. He knew the routine and that I would do a recall. On one hand, he should have stayed on the fan perch until I did that recall. But to me, that was volitional flying on his part to be with me. I could not scold him for that can I? I felt he came to be as a friend. As a friend, I hold up my hand to let him land and let him ate up 4-5 millis. If I had suri with me as well, he would get that suri for sure. He then flew back to the fan. And came immediately to me when I gave him recall cue.

Then when I walked to the kitchen door for the far recalls, he took off from the fan before I said a word, flew at top speed towards me, circled above and flew back to the fan. Almost as if he was teasing me. I gave him recall cues, and he got his suri. Then the next recall he got millis, and then followed by suri.

I went back to the sofa to take a ciggie break. He took off from the dining area behind me to perch on the fan waiting for me. It was not windy today. I hold up the ribbon loop with my left hand and slowly approached him. I hold the loop near his head and he got his click. To get his treat, he had to stick his head into the loop as I positioned the milli box just a bit beyond. The next time, I moved the loop until his head was in it and then I gave the click and treat. I made the loop smaller, and then smaller, and then smaller. He accepted all of that for his click and treat.

I went to the PC room and called for YS. He came shortly after I called. He got his click and suri. A few more gift recalls were done, so I could have excuse to give him his millis and suris.

With him on the fan in PC room, I thought again of the importance of the back rub if I was eventually to get him to wear harness. Again when I raised my finger, he took that as a game and was hopping and flapping playing 'king on the hill' to stay on top of my finger. Then I tried with finger from the other hand holding the milli box to be stamped down by him. He was taking milli while dancing about on my finger.

Then I thought what about if I used both hands. While my right hand hold the milli box with last two fingers curling it against the palm, I raised the forefinger of right hand to try to reach his back, and simultaneously, the forefinger of left hand approached his back from the other side. He turned his head about wondering which finger to fight. As he fought one, the other finger touched his back. And you know what. YIPPIIEEE !!!! He accepted me rubbing his back and did not try to fly off.

That was done again, and again. He was more and more calm about getting a backrub from me. I tried to insert my finger down his back and between his wings. It was then he drew the line and flew to top of cupboard to shout at me. But in a short while, he flew down to the fan as if no hard feelings. I touched his back and gave him a short back rub. I decided not to proceed further today as to get my finger under his wings. There will be enough time to do that over the next few days.

I went out to the living room and called YS. In a short while, he came flying out from the PC room and landed on the fan. I walked over to him. With that two finger technique, I was able to rub his back again. YIPIEEE !! That meant he would allow me to do that more and more, and a crucial milestone to wearing that harness eventually, AND THEN TO BE ABLE TO GO OUTSIDE WITH ME!!

I then decided to try to take some photos of YS in the bedroom against that dressing table mirror.

I was also in this French parrot group the last couple of days. ( I am also in Russian, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese , Arabic parrot groups too. Tinkerbell Legacy had been translated into other languages and had reached out to people who do not read English. Many people around the world knew that they can live with a flighted parrot at home)

That group is

On 4th Dec 2005, I was asked if birds recognised their image in mirror and I replied that Tinkerbell did.

Then the other day when I mentioned about YS and recalling him via mirror, I thought of this topic.

You might like to see the two letters I wrote (minus the french translation)



Posté le: Jeu 26 Jan à 10:21

Hello again my French friends.

An incident with Yingshiong the other day reminded me of a conversation about mirrors here.

YS was in my bedroom and he was in front of the dressing table mirror making display at his image and singing.

I entered the room silently but he could see me in the mirror. I raised my hand to give him the recall signal. He clearly knew that was an image. He immediately turned around and flew to me instead of flying into the mirror.

My report is here.


You can read it in French if you place that URL into



Posté le: Ven 27 Jan à 4:12



Hello again my friends,

I went to the thread on mirrors and read the letters there. But if I write there, it will be a repeat of what I am writing here.

What the 'specialist' said on African greys not recognising their image in mirrors is only his opinion and not facts. He is entitled to his opinion. A grey can remain motionless on a perch. Does that mean that grey is catatonic and unable to recognise and understand the surronding?

Just because the grey showed no interest in the mirror image, that does not mean the grey do not understand.

I will give more credit to the intelligence of the Grey than to the 'specialist'.

A shama is a very fierce territorial song bird. There are three kind of singing I heard from Yingshiong.
1. Very loud territorial singing with full display such as flaring of tail feathers.
2. Quiet singing and experimenting with new vocals and rythmn which may be later made part of loud territorial singing
3. Very very quiet singing, so soft that Yinghiong was on my shoulder for me to hear that. This is sang when I feed him and when I play with him.

Yingshiong is so territorial that when he heard his own recordings, he will immediately go into loud territorial singing. Even when I spoke with a friend (David of http://shama.com.sg/) on the handphone and his shamas were singing, Yingshiong heard that singing and burst into territorial song.

A male shama will not, and cannot tolerate another male shama without fighting.

When Yingshiong was looking in the mirror, he was singing his quiet singing with little territorial display. He did not recognise the image as a rival male. My belief is that YS knew that was his image, but that is only my opinion.

When he saw me making my hand signal for recall, he was watching me in the mirror. I tried that again yesterday. And he also immediately turned around to fly to me. The windows are closed and no air movements. I do not think he smelled me.

My opinion is that he saw me in the mirror and knew that was an image in the mirror.



We then were back in the living room after that. YS broke out into singing and singing. That was why I was so unconcerned when he did not sing earlier.

At 1230pm, YS was at 32.7 gm. The millis were at 18.6 gm with drop of 1.9 gm. The suris were at 70.0 gm with drop of 1.1 gm. I gave YS 3 crickets and the cricket box was at 28.1 gm with drop of 1.9 gm.

YS was at 34.6 gm and I then left him for my lunch and to do some personal stuff.

I got back at 530 pm and YS was weighed to be 32.2 gm.

A few short recalls were done. And when I walked to do a long recall, he again flew from his fan to circle around me and flew back to the fan perch again. That was a very nice feeling, more than I could express here. That blatant toadying of me got him a nice suri for that long recall. You would not do less would you?

630 pm was final weighing. YS was at 33.0 gm but he was given the last cricket half an hour ago. The milli was at 17.9 gm with total drop of 2.6 gm. The suri was at 69.7 gm with total drop of 1.4 gm. The cricket was at 27.7 gm with total drop of 2.3 gm.

Then later with YS asleep, I introduced again the MM so he would have something in the morning. The MM also had lots of carbo and minerals etc etc etc. Despite the crickets and suris and millis being feed well, I think MM should be feed too so he could get his calcium , carbo etc etc as well.

The MM was at 38.3 gm


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



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


or to WWF or other conservation bodies of your choice

MM - mixed mash , from YSM 60%, Claus (food for insectivore birds)
20% and Sinlin 20% (local commercial food for shama)

YSM - Read "making of Yingshiong mash"

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

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

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