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Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

The report after Chapter 1 of Yingshiong


Here I am again. I just landed in Dubai airport at 6 am today and my connecting flight to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be at 6 pm.

Now you know where I am heading to. I mentioned that I have had many Arabic visitors into Tinkerbell's Website. I hope I pleasantly surprised them that I am in their region and may have a chance to meet with them and their birds. But of course, that will be after I settled down.

In the decision to leave YS with Joy, there was another very serious contender that I discussed with Taufik.

On the 26 Feb, I was discussing with him

"I may be going to Saudi Arabia for some work very very
soon. That might be as early as 5 Mar.

If you have kept in touch with the blog, you noticed I
decided to stop trying the harness and to enjoy YS
more recently. Now you know the reason why.

When that offer came to me, my first thought was for
the happiness of YS. You have seen how he lived with
me, flying in the entire apartment. Even if not in
the apartment, he has the flight room which is a huge
aviary specially for him in any case.

You agree that if YS go back into a round cage, that
will be painful for him and to the hundreds of people
reading about us in Singapore and USA, UK, Germany,
Middle East and around the world. They all got to
love YS very much who served as an example of how life
can be with a shama.

My friend CM was devasted when he thought YS will be
back in a round cage. Through him, he got me in touch
with a mutual school friend BK. BK remembered me (we were friends in
school days) and he has an aviary in his house twice
the height and size of my entire apartment. I think
only Jurong bird park aviaries are bigger than his own
aviary. He kept shamas too, and he offered to look
after YS until I could get back

and in a later letter


It is good to hear from you.

If both me and my wife leave Singapore, than it will
not be a problem. Yingshiong go back to you as we
agreed at the beginning :-) You will find YS to sing
much more powerfully now and a lot more braver than

In the current situation, my wife Joy will not be
going to Saudi Arabia. There are too many
restrictions as no taxi can take her out, she cannot
leave the apartment unless she is with me, she cannot
go shopping on her own etc, etc , etc. So she will
continue to be in Singapore.

Even if I do work there, every 3 months, I will be
back in Singapore for one to two weeks.

I am not even sure if I like that job and perhaps
might be back for good in a short while. And if I am
back for good, I have thoughts of getting a female
shama for YS the next breeding season. Of course, you
will have the first choice of the babies.

And even now, with the problems in getting visa, I
might not even get to start. I was supposed to start
on 5 March, but now that will be delayed because of
some paper work problems in Saudi.

My first inclination was to let BK look after YS.

But I did not realised my wife love YS very much.
When I was away for a week, she looked after YS very
well and reported in her blog. It will be much easier
for me and I can immediatly be with YS when I get
back. As you agreed, too much travelling and moving
is not good for the bird.


So you see, the decision to let my wife look after YS was not
a casual decision at all.

In the last couple of days before I left, I experimented with leaving the
smb cover off. There were loose papers covering the top of the peatmoss substrate.

Any suris, or millis out in the open were napped by YS. The earlier attempt when I
left pure milli concentrate out was wrong. YS just gobbled them up and grew so fat.
That was also very boring for him.

It is just like coca leaves, chewed in that form is good for the natives supplying them with Vit C and minerals and energy. Refined into cocaine, that become deadly, unnatural and thoroughly bad.

THe suris and millis in peatmoss and under paper focused YS to be alert and must forage for them unlike the milli concentrate.

I was very pleased to find YS weight remained at a constant of 34.5 from 10 am to 4 pm and not bloat that alarmingly.

It was fun for YS as I saw him trying out different stragtegies and stimulate his environment.

It will be good for YS as he could continue to get the suris and millis without my wife needing to handle the suris other than to feed them.

I will not have the risk of suris and millis breeding unchecked and becoming mass escapees.

So periodically, my wife will just lift off the cover of the smb. YS can truly forage for the unlucky suri or milli out in the open, and keep their numbers in check while he enjoys himself. My wife need not touch those suris or millis. (how many of you, even guys, can handle suris?)

On the morning of 10 March, Benjamin came over to say hello to YS and to pick up a smb full of millis and suris. He should pass starting culture of that to others as he wished.

I told him to wait outside the meshed gate. That was the only way he could see YS going through the usual morning play with me. From short to intermediate to long recalls, YS ignored him entirely as he was not in the apartment. Even in the intermediate recall with me standing near Benjamin, YS came to me.

It was just like with Tinkerbell. Tink only spoke with me and my wife and remain silent with any other around. But, if we were on motorboke and she on her perch, it was like an envelope and she would talk and insult and whistle regardless of traffic and people around her even at red light stops.

But when Ben came in , YS became a true shama, very shy and flew back into flight room. It took some time to persuade him to be out again with Ben around.

Then in the afternoon, I finally got to see my friend BK. His aviary was even more massive and beautiful than I can describe, and that is only one small element of the nature that he surround himself with , and what he told me that was his office as well.

To get to his office, you need to walk in this meandering path through trees and bushes, a magical kind of fantasy garden again beyond words.

We last saw each other about 40 years ago. If not for Tinkerbell, and subsequently YS, and of recent events, we might not even have met again.

In his aviary, there were massive mature trees, babbling brooks, and as close to nature as possible.
He had birds inside that I will not even try to tell you about.

More important was the attitude that we shared, an aspect I suspect those close to him in business and official life never will have suspected. A closeness and respect for nature that was the key in our dealings and relationship with the birds and beasts that came into our lives.

We found it so easy to talk to each other. When I told him my secondary school days and formative years were spend in reading books by Gerald Durrell and Attenborough, he laughed and said that was the same for him.

It was with regret that I left him as I had to finish my packing.

And gotten on that 3 am departure.

That lead me to this niche by Gate 16 in Dubai airport and this report.



added on 5 May 2007

Photos of BK aviary



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""

Yingshiong songs are in

She made more toys and took photos of those new toys for YS and the way YS was playing with them.

You can see that in folders

Yingshiong beady toys


The descriptions and captions of those photos will be lost if you use the slideshow, so it may be better if you see those photos one at a time.

If you liked the photos of Tinkerbell and Taiwan, most of those photos were taken by Joy with my camera.

For even more photos ot Tinkerbell and Taiwan, you should check out Joy's other folders in


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