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Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

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Tinkerbell - Bantienyen In Retrospect
Tinkerbell - Bantienyen In Retrospect

I wrote earlier that Chinese words written by 8 year old was a bit beyond me. MeiMei is 13 years old which required me to scream for my wife to read to me. I am not that illiterate as I could follow the soap operas by the chinese subtitles on the TV . I once even followed this Japanese soap opera with spoken Japanese (which I haven’t any clue of) but with subtitles in Chinese. But then again, soap operas were largely written by people with mindset of a 7 year old with the vocabulary of a 6 year old and thus could be comprehended by me.

Thank you for your nice thoughts. To folks like yaymatt, Greg, Yvonne who followed us for a very long time and others who got to know of us recently, my apologies for subjecting you all in a hairy roller coaster ride. I really rather this to be much more sedate with just that wee bit of excitement. All that was needed was just that tiny distraction with a lapse of paranoia, and all hell broke loose. On that afternoon of 26 Dec 07, I even thought of looping another rubber band around the reel to stop line from running (line lock) in case the reel spun free from its reel lock.

In 2003 and 2004, the line lock and reel lock were always set by me and watched by my wife Joy. In 2005 “Tinkerbell Revisited” and 2006 “Tinkerbell Interlude” when I took Tink out by myself, line lock and reel lock were always set. On that afternoon of 26 Dec, I stupidly then rationalised that as my wife was with me, that should be safe enough and I should stop being so paranoid. I did not write it in that first report as I was too much in pain and with so much to write as it was in what I thought might be Tinkerbell memorial.

After all, haven’t we all backed up our PC hard-disk week after week and the hard-disk was ok.

Then during the time when we stop doing those backups, that’s when your hard disk died on you. Selective memory conveniently masked this (which happened to me!). Then shit hit the fan plunging me, and later all of you, into this nightmare.

This episode will make it very clear to you that nothing is risk free. Good safety rules can only remain good if those rules are adhered to at all times without any bloody exceptions. I was so lucky that I escaped the full consequences when I violated my own rules.

For those who just knew of me and Tinkerbell, and not have known of us in the past, it will be so easy to question why did I take her out on a harness.

You would not have known like those that followed my written accounts and known of the beautiful places that we have been to. That can be read in

Tinkerbell – Part 1 The Earlier Years

Although I tried to write as much as I could, those were just a fraction of all that we had done.

Every weekend we were out on long trips often requiring a stay over. Every evening when it was not raining, we all would be outside in nearby parks and schools and then dinner. We went out for hundreds of times.

If she was not wearing a comfortable harness that I designed, she would never have been able to join us outside.

That Bantienyen place was so horrendously difficult to search for her. And yet, there were even more rugged and difficult areas, at elevations of 1000m, 1600m, 2500m and so many even at just 50m elevations that we have been to for years. All those are awesomely beautiful places that I never got enough of. In some of those places, a dozen Osamas can hide there without a trace of a hair from a beard.

She spooked very badly 6 times prior to this. Tinkerbell story would have ended long long time ago if she was not wearing her harness. The power that she showed me when she was spooked was so strong and frightening. The advice I seen on how you keep her safe by placing your thumb over their feet obviously never seen a spooked CAG and the power he/she can generate.

Then I started to notice her emotions and expressions on her face. I could see caution look changing into pre-spook look. I could see or guess the spook was coming and comforted her or took her away from that. She knew predators. By then, I got to know her nuances of emotions. By the sudden stillness , the fluffing/not fluffing of her neck, the way her face changed, I saw later what she saw first, predators in the air. http://shanlung.livejournal.com/68409.html

I knew she was very agile and a powerful flyer too. From the games she played with me, or rather induced me to play with her, she showed me how she could zigzag to avoid the aim of the water blaster to land on top of the gun barrel to laugh at me. But until she returned to us all, I was never certain if she could really recognise and avoid raptors. I was so happy to have heard the confirmation that she came lower down from the mountains to Bantienyen. Despite her return to us, that she was captured higher up from BTY in raptors territory scared me very much. I have no doubt at all that Tinkerbell wanted to come home and she flew back up and then allowed herself to be taken in by humans.

Remember that Tinkerbell when not spooked could still fly to me carrying that 1 kg rod/reel with her. So do not think of me being too paranoid when I talked of the 2kg weighted bag that I will add will also be wound about the backpack as well.

And even with all that, no absolute guarantees can be given.

So what did we get for all those risks and dangers?

I gained the pleasure of having her with me in all those beautiful places which my photos and my wife photos never can do full justice to. And that I could only briefly tried to sketch out in words what we done there.

And what did she get from all the places she been to? I do not know.

We had been out walking on mountain trails from break of dawn to dusk. She saw to distant horizon in air made crystal clear with that touch of frost. She felt the rain and wind on her face. She saw butterflies by the thousands in migratory routes. Heard and seen other birds flying about. She saw with me the magic of fireflies pulsating all around us. Saw and heard the roars of giant ocean combers pounding the shore and the smell of salty kelpy seasprays. She saw thousands and thousands of people, and touched the lifes of those that stop and talked with us. I wanted for her a life more than just a life within the bars of a cage, or the walls of a house.

I do like to think that she gained something too, even if it was just happiness.

Should anyone wander to that clump of trees below that pavilion where we took her too, you will find a William Henry folding knife with a wave damascus blade left on a small rock under a tree. That knife was bought as part of Tinkerbell kit and used for anything to do with her. This knife and the box to hold Tinkerbell sunflower seeds treat was not given to Yu. You can see that knife in the photos taken to show step by step creation of "Harness for Dennis"

I was using that knife to cut away the snags in the line when I tried to slingshot that line to bring down Tinkerbell line. I knew exactly where that knife was. The problem was that I did not remember exactly where the deep pits were, the loose rocks and the 45 degree slope. I was prepared to face all that to get Tinkerbell. And as that time when I thought I lost Tinkerbell, I had no heart to get that back. And even now that Tink is back, I have no wish to face those unknown pits , slope and loose rocks even for that WH knife with mother of pearl handle inlay. If you know knives, you know a WH. If you do not, Google will tell you what WH knife is.

We know emails are terse and fraught with misunderstandings. Predictions from Gods or spirits of Gods are even more terse. Long time ago in mid 90s when I left Taiwan, I was at this temple and the oracles there told me I will not be back in Taiwan. The oracle never mentioned that time period. For as you all know, I had this call from the blue and I was back again in Taiwan in 2001. So obviously the last prediction that the YuanFen (karmic affinity) ended for me and Tink is not incorrect. That prediction was correct for that period between 27 Dec to 16 Jan. It is inevitable that I will return to Taiwan. And it will be unthinkable for me not to go to Chiayi and be with Yu and friends and of course, Tinkerbell too.

The 'total healing and final closure' I have had early in that last visit to Tinkerbell can now be resumed. Except I realised I might not be that totally healed. I think I cannot have another grey in my life. It is likely to be an Eckky or a pair of Eckkies. How life with them will be like is unknown right now. All I can be sure of is that they will join me outside.

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A beautiful piece of writing, Shanlung. Your writing goes from strength to strength. May I ask what your native language is? Your power of communication transcends all language difficulties, in fact, the occasional oddity of phrase only adds to the charm. I can't get enough of your descriptive pieces. (Oddities of phrase refers to writings, in the past, not this one.)
I agree, nobody can grasp a grey's toes securely enough to hold them safely, if the bird spooks. The bird's toes would need to be a fair bit longer to get enough purchase and even then, I doubt it would be possible; you would about be cutting off the circulation if you could grasp them that tightly, plus risking breaking their leg, (I know someone whose Indian Ringneck received a compound fracture of its leg when his son tried to grab it from a branch after it escaped, that's how stubborn a bird can be!) My female cockatoo, well, possibly I might be able to hold her... but not the male and DEFINITELY not my Grey.
Male cockatoos are extremely strong, in fact that is how my Grey turned me into a member of the Overnighters Club. My birds have a second, smaller set of cages outside - and the male cockatoo PUSHED A VERY HEAVY BRASS CAGE off the top of his; it burst open and Tinker flew away. That cockatoo regularly pushes large macaw cages around the carpeted living room; he cannot get them to move in straight lines because he can only push one corner, but he moves them easily. People know ants are strong but they never consider how strong birds are... especially parrots. Needless to say, I never stack their cages outside nowadays, not even on the female Umbrella's cage and she has never objected and tried to push anything off her cage. There could always be a first time. I simply bought more tables so they can all sit in single cages with no stacking. Lynne :-)


My native language is English. That's the courtesy of
the old British Empire where "God save the Queen" were sung
and English was tried on me.

I could not speak a word of Chinese when I first went to Taiwan in 90.
A huge source of embarassment to the guy who promoted me there as
an effective bilinguist. He knew I spoke English well enough. He assumed
that as an ethnic Chinese, I could speak Chinese. His assumption was wrong.

That explains your great command of the English language, my friend... but it has brought me an even greater curiosity about your childhood. Have you ever read the Gerald Durell books? They start in his childhood and encompass his first yearnings for wildlife and all aspects of the world of nature. Is there any chance of you writing about your early years? I know you are a very busy man but it seems to me that you might do well to get your personal history written down; you could always add to it as things come back to you. I wouldn't mind betting that we would all be eager for such a saga... Yours hopefully, Lynne



You had not read down to the bottom of many of my webpages.
Of Tinkerbell and especially of Yingshiong.

You then would have seen I consistently urged donations to Gerald Durell Wildlife organisation.

My childhood books had been of Gerald Durell and David Attenborough books, among others. The words of those two shaped me very much from my earlier years to now and beyond.

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