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Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

Miscellanous soapbox rantings
From http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Parrotrecalltraining

> --- In Parrotrecalltraining@yahoogroups.com, L L Rasmussen
> <raz@...> wrote:
>> There is something I want to nip in the bud too, just in case.
>> Now that Carly is eagerly jumping off the counter or perch to come to
>> me, she is starting to do it unbidden. I don't want this to become a
>> begging type thing -- i.e., I'm hungry, want a treat -- then boiinnnngg!
>> into my arms. How do you prevent this kind of behavior? It isn't at
>> this point yet, but I can see it coming.... How do you begin to teach
>> them to ONLY do this on cue? I haven't been treating when it's a
>> spontaneous one that she's doing just to get food. Should I be
> starting
>> to teach "stay" as well as "come"?
> This was very troublesome to me.
> Then I looked at it from another way. Should my very good friend and
> daughter be allowed to come to me if and only if I called her to come.
> Do you want your son/daughter to come to you only when bidden? That
> he/she will not be allowed to give you a hug because they want to give
> you a hug?
> Or should she also be allowed the choice to come to me of her own
> choice when she so want to come to me. That she will know that she
> always will have a perch on me.
> What if one day she got spooked without harness and flew off returning
> to a tree top unseen by me. But as she was taught never ever to come
> to me unless cued, she remained sitting up there in silence while I kept
> calling her name and forgetting to add the cue to come.
> At all those unbidden flights to me, she got at least a headrub , a nice
> talking to, some time with me before being told to go to another named
> perch.
> At all cued flights to me, she also got at least a headrub , a nice
> talking
> to, some time with me before being told to go to another named perch.
> Perhaps all said and done, I am just a lousy trainer with little sense of
> discipline making feeble excuses for the way I allow them to browbeat
> me into submission.
> Or maybe I just want a companion and friend and equal, and not a
> very well trained bird.
> Shanlung
From: "shanlung9" <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed Aug 2, 2006 9:10 pm
Subject: Re: Will Jump for Food - uncued comings/Shanlung

--- In Parrotrecalltraining@yahoogroups.com, "Darren"
<darrenmerc@...> wrote:
> Shanlung,
> Hi ... In this post, I am going to guess that you misunderstood.
Hugh was
> not saying ''Never allow the bird to come to you". Only that when
you are
> training recall it is important the bird understand they
are "learning" and
> what you want as a desired result.

Of course not! Hugh was not talking about never allowing bird to
come to you.

Communicating via emails is fraught with possible misunderstandings.

Especially so when backgrounds can be very different and when
different events are talked about. My mind was wandering and I was
not referring to pure training sessions.

Also the training changed through time. What might be essential at
the beginning might be faded away a couple of years later. Habits
changed too. Sunflower seeds and other treats were essential at the
beginning. Later on, Tinkerbell refused to accept any food rewards
from me for cued recalls.

Perhaps this old letter might be interesting. So when I did not
mention about the giving of treats, I have the last episode when I
revisited Tink in mind when she refused any treats at all.

" I think I will be hung, drawn and quartered"

I have been reading other threads with interest, especially on

During the formal training with Tink, her responses to my cues had
been immediate. But then, I chose the timing. I talked to her as I
do in most cases. Only when she looked at me did I then call her
name. Only when she poised herself in readiness when her name was
called did I then give recall cue to her to launch herself
immediately to me. If she did not look at me at call of her name, I
do not call to avoid cheapening the cues.

The biggest problem was her premature recalls. Beyond 30 meters, my
wife will be needed to stay with her and talk to her while I moved
further back prior the recalls. I cannot fault Tink for this. She
might have been frigthened in the new environment, and I did not
make it better as I always chose different places all the time.

Less than that distance , in most cases, she would heed my cues
to 'stay', provided I remained in eye contact with her while walking
backwards and with my palm open to her to force a 'stay'.

The training at home was different. During the formal training
sessions, when she flew to me uncued, I raised my hand for her to
land. Then with a smooth drawing and turning of the arm (good if
you know martial arts and aikido type of redirection or combat
taijichuan), I drew her to me and redirect her back to perch with a
final twist of hand.

She got to know in formal clicker sessions, cues were important to
me, and she should not come unless cued.

But off clicker sessions, when I do not have clicker in hand, she
could come to me and be welcomed to come to me at about anytime. If
I had no time , I did the above redirection of her at home.

We also went out during the weekends for the entire day. During rest
or in picnic, her leash was set to about 15-20 meters for her to fly
from danger or to fly to me as she liked. I might be reading a book
and she doing her thing. She would then fly to me, nibble my ear
and fly away , or just stay on with me for a while. During outside,
all uncued flights to me were always accepted, even when she over-
rode my 'stay' cues. She then got her headrubs etc etc etc and a
walk back to that perch (difficult to give names to perches when

Back to the top of tree, if you know exactly which tree, than there
is no problem. What if he/she remain quiet and you do not know the

He/she see you but taught never to come to you uncued. Admittedly,
this is hypothetical.

I hope this letter make things clearer.


From: "shanlung9" <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu Aug 3, 2006 4:54 pm
Subject: Re: Will jump for Food -uncured comings/Darren shanlung9
Send Email
--- In Parrotrecalltraining@yahoogroups.com, "Becki" <bl.rasar@...>
> Darren,
> So maybe I have been doing this wrong then. My B&G flights are not
grown out yet. So I put her on the floor and have her come to me. No
problem at all BUT she starts coming to me pretty much as soon as I
put her down. Are you saying I should teach her to stay until I tell her
to come to me? Because at this point we are in training mode? But
other times when in the house out and about later let her fly to me if
she chooses?
> I understand where Shanlung is coming from on this and maybe it is
just my human emotions playing into it. I do enjoy when my birds fly to
me for a scritch or to say hi.
> Becki


I presume you must be a human. I should think having human emotions
must be natural so you need not apologise for that.

Living with flighted fids , or parrot given full run of house, is an involved
process with give and takes on both sides.

Part of that process will be formal clicker training. While I did not
document in detail this process with Tinkerbell, you can see this very
clearly in the daily blog with Yingshiong. That formal training periods
are short, but very absolute. You will find in all my old posts that I am
very consistent in recommending FORMAL clicker training. The holding
of clicker (not just that the sound is consistent) help your mental focus
and the focus of your fids.

Maybe you should consider joining Ras in her aikido lessons to know
redirections with very smooth circular movements. Cues for stay when
at home must be reinforced by not allowing flights to you during the
formal lessons. Then later on, you watch them. Any flights to you will
always be preceded by preflight posturing. Recognise that and freeze
that with "no" to prevent uncued flights (during formal training). C&T
the 'stay'. Any c&t will build up the bonds. Those interactions are a lot
more meaningful than I look at you and you look at me.

If you read on Yingshiong, he had to hover until cue for come is given
for c&t.

Another important aspect will be the environment at home for your BG
and quaker. Are there alternative and very attractive areas for them to
hang out and play about on their own? If not, is it any wonder that they
want to cling on to you.

Look at some of the photos of Tinkerbell in home environment. She
had ten times more toys for her then I ever had for myself when I was a
kid. Those were positioned at the named places for her to have fun with.

Maybe you should consider portioning part of their diet into foraging
areas, randomly located about to give them exciting alternatives to
being on you.

Place your quaker and play with him/her in those alternative areas,
then leaving them to play on his own when they are engrossed and
you do your thing.

Since this is long term, you and any others, must balance your
relationship to mutually acceptable patterns fair for them, and that you
can live with.



a letter at birdtalk 1 aug 2006


In some of the recent topics I was reading, from biting tiels to feather plucking, the advice given is "CLIP THE WINGS" and show them that YOU ARE THE BOSS. It will be a very sad day that we feel the psychological need to 'show' that we are the boss, because they are 3 ounces, that we are stronger, and we paid bucks for them and that might is right.
Perhaps I should have started a new topic completely. But then, words are just words. The photos I posted earlier in this thread are needed to show not only it is possible to live with flighted birds, the flighted birds will bring more joy and dimensions to the relationship.

If that came from information that you have read that clipping of wings will cure all behavioural problems, than that information is ill advised and outdated.

If you think clipped wings meant the bird will never be able to fly away, you are sadly mistaken. A bad spook and a gust of wind will see that bird flying away.

Granted that not all can keep flighted birds with them at home. Living with flighted birds is a compromise between what we are prepared to do for them and the home environment.

If you have kids and little nieces and nephews running in and out, open pots of boiling water bubbling away and poisonous plants begging for a chew, then it is better not to have flighted birds with full freedom at home. Or if you take long trips and vacations and the caretaker of your bird do not know how to look after flighted birds

But circumstances may change. Little nephews might have chewed those plants and lids found for those open pots and it is possible to have flighted birds afterall.

It is not difficult to live with flighted birds. It require a bit more planning and training and commitment , and the right circumstances (no kids/open pots/plants begging for a chew).

It also require you to treat the bird with respect and dignity and as a friend. Attempts to 'alpha' a flighted bird is futile anyway and the bird will treat you with contempt as the fool you are.

As with everything, there is a price to be paid. You decide for yourself if I gained , or if I lost , in the exchange.

In my webpages, I tried to give full details of how life is like with flighted birds at home. I gave in full details of the training and interactions. That can be read in Tinkerbell Legacy, Part 2 of


Warmest regards


(Imagine how he will look like with the wings clipped. So why do that to your bird?)