Tinkerbell shanlung's Tinkerbell photoset
From: shan lung <shanlung9@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Jan 14, 2003  4:26 pm
Subject: Tinkerbell semi freeflight 1 - In Retrospect 

With the benefit of hindsight now, Tinkerbell's first
semi free flight would have been very different.

What I write may not benefit you. This is an unique
experience and it may be drastically different for you
and your charge. I am not sure of the validity of my
words that I am writing. And no matter what I
write, you will only see what you want to see ignoring
aspects which are very important that you do not
realized until after that time. We are only
humans and while critising other species, we have our
many blind areas too.

Others like Janet and Chris of freeflight have
written long and deep before. I failed to see what I
should see and read only what I want to
read. A few days before that semi free flight, just
the thought of that had been so intoxicating. How
would it have been if it was the true free
flight itself.

While thinking of the lessons I have learned from that
Saturday, Janet and Chris added in their words. What
they say was very much in line with
what I thought. What I did on Saturday was not fully
forgiven by Tinkerbell
as of last night which was why I did not write this
then. If she was not in
cage, she will be in room with me tearing up the
keyboard or alone in the
hall with Halftail, a situation I still cannot feel
safe with. I need
to be there if she is out of the cage and I like her
to be out of the cage often.

This morning, she forgive me totally allowing me to
forgive myself promising
her I will never repeat that Saturday stupidity with
her. We know how
they can be if we introduce a new toy that they do not
like. They spook and
want to fly through the cage bars.

What if they are WITHIN that strange place that they
do not know and we aggravate that by doing unthinking
things to them? I cannot even try to answer that.

In my excitement that Saturday, I forgot she is a CAG
with all her heritage to keep their kind safe from
predators. They have nothing to fight back with
and they are not the fastest fliers. Their
intelligence and instinct must combined together so
they remain free from harm and must not be seen as

They are intelligent to recognize new places and
environment, and while wary at first, will be able to
see that those new places is 'safe'. Forcing them to
do things that they are not ready for betrayed their
trust that they have on us.

I am thankful that in the end, that day ended up
'well'. I think I have learned
a lot of that day of Tinkerbell and a lot of myself.
Mistakes have been made that day and they will not be
repeated again by me.

With the clarity of hindsight and in retrospect,
I will have brought with me and do on that day

1) sandwiches, drinks , mat or picnic set and her
familar basket stand/toys
2) bowls for Tink with seed mix and water
3) book to read if necessary
4) playing cards
5) light soft Frisbees
6) socks rolled up, soft and suitable for throwing
7) binoculars to check on her condition if high up

If I have a car, I will bring her regular stand and
more toys

Her cat carrier will be the home base with that picnic
set out. That carrier
will be left open for her to get back into and as her
personal base to feel safe in.
I will not again like that day got her out of that
carrier and dump that carrier, her other familiar
home, far away.

When she comes out to join us, I will get her to
'touch target' and treat her. If she is not ready to
do that or take the treat, she ain? ready to fly to

I will walk her around the room introducing her to the
area and the glass. It is enough that she have trust
and faith in me not to spook away. I will give her
sunflower seeds now and then to see if she is calm
enough to take that. If she does not take seeds, I
will get back to base to let her have her bowls of
water and if she wants to get into carrier.

I then will repeat again the introduction and walking
around. If she takes seed, I will still go back to
base. I will try simple touch target and treat,
increasing that to walking to target.

That will be increased to a hop flight of 6 inches to
a foot away recall and that she must take her treats.
That will be for 3-4 times. Any time she does not
respond to cue or treat, she goes back to open
carrier, familiar basket stand and we go back to
picnic and books and cards.

The next recall will be at equivalent distance as that
of home. My big mistake (among many) was that
thinking the area is big, tried to get her to do long
recalls. That she cannot fly away in a close room was
no excuse for trying long recalls at the beginning in
the first place. Even more unthinking and
unforgivable was telling my wife to take her in hand
to shake her towards
me at the beginning. She was frightened, looking to
us as protectors, and we doing that to her. She
gripped her sleeve hard and I did not try that again.
I should not even have tried that at all.

Placing her on the folded table tennis table was wrong
wrong wrong wrong.

Her stress level in new surroundings must be our
primary consideration.

If she can handle home distance recall, we will take a
break for her to play with her toys and we go back to
picnic and books. If she preens herself and fly to
our shoulders and take treats, I will go into longer
distance, maybe 15 -20 feet recalls. The maximum of
3-4 recalls before she goes back to base and rest.

If she spook and fly up and refuse to come back to
recall cues, and if we are in safe room, I will go
back to book and let her be till she comes down. One
will keep watch and at all times, all will remain
calm. The binoculars is to check if she is ok. If
she preens or look at us, recall cue will be given a
couple of times. If she does not come, back to the
book and food and wait.

If perch is dangerous or she does dangerous things
like chewing on insulation like that saturday, soft
frisbees may be needed to spook her back to ground.
Or soft bundled socks be thrown to dislodge her down.
Playing cards can be frisbeed upwards for shorter

That home base recovery process will resume until she
is ok again. Recall attempts restart from 6 inches
and work slowly up only if she takes treats or preen

If she never spooked, longer distance (twice normal
distance at home) will be done for maximum of 2 times
before base recovery. Tinkerbell must initiate
restart of flight training by flying to our shoulders
or being her cantankerous normal self, or by preening
when perched on me.

This will be the standard that I will conduct all
future flights with Tinkerbell. I intend to find
another 3 different places suitable of semi
freeflights to test out and refine my procedures
before true free flight. Each of those different
places will have minimum of 2 semi freeflight trails.

I will retry that flight this saturday again at my
office. I will try to report back but note Tinkerbell
will be going to my friend on 21 Jan evening. Annual
company dinner is on 22 Jan evening and we will be
flying off on 23 Jan evening.

I may not report in detail, but I will let you all
know at least if it went well.

With warmest regards

Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter