|From: shan lung <shanlung9@y...>
Date: Mon Nov 17, 2003
Subject: Bird whisperer of TsaoLing
I will get to answering your letters, but first I got
to talk about a bird whisperer I met last weekend at
Let me tell you about this place called TsaoLing. I
have wanted to go there, in fact, tried about 6 times
to get there. That is about 60 km from where I stay
in Chiayi and on paper, does not seem that far away.
A week ago, I talked about my visit to SanLinSee, a
place I did not go because it was written as Sun Link
Sea making it sound like a tacky place to me.
TsaoLing was described in a book as a fascinating
mountain resort at 980 meters high. Considering that
there are so many places of 2000 to 3000 meters high,
that 980 meters did not sound like much. It does not
take too much for a procrastinator like me to
procrastinate and 980m seemed quite puny.
So as I tried to make my way there with Joy and
Tinkerbell in the past, I found so many delightful
places along the way that begged to be stopped at,
roses to smell, that I never made it to TsaoLing.
With my wife away in UK, I decided to make a
determined effort this time on my bike with Tink
riding in front. In fact, while getting to TsaoLing,
I found another two delightful area that will required
revisits from me at a later stage. If I had not had
my mind set on getting there this time, this would
have been a very different letter.
Eventually, I got to TsaoLing. 980 meters high only
partially described that place. What I did not know
until I got there is that TsaoLing is set in a massive
gorge and resting on a knoll about 980 meters high but
with mountains up to 3000-4000 meters in front of it
and behind it.
That was a stunning place to be in and I fell in love
with it even as I was riding down towards the town to
check into a hotel.
I then saw this beautiful little temple a little bit
further down. The first photo is of this temple as
seen from around the hotel and the next couple of
shots were taken in that lovely Zen temple complex.
(more photos added as flickr allows many more shots in folder)
Some of the flight photos also have been taken here.
Tinkerbell and me have always attracted people.
Although it can be a bit tiresome (like answering for
the 100th time 'does she talk?'), I do try to remain
nice and to tell them how to keep and look after a
parrot in case that cross their minds later and they
remember me and Tinkerbell.
It was after dinner and I was just about to get to my
room with Tinkerbell. A local lady approached me and
told me she enjoyed watching me recalling Tinkerbell.
I nodded my head politely. She then invited me over
to her house saying that she got birds too. I thought
in my mind that I do not care to see birds in cages
and probably miserably kept and was thinking of how to
refuse her invitation as diplomatically as possible.
She was rather insistent saying her house is just a
couple of minutes away and I reluctantly went along
thinking I will just excuse myself after a short
When I walked inside the house, I was stunned to see
her husband with an open cage and beautiful little
white eyed thrush feeding from his hand. (Note: I do
not know the names of the birds I saw. I call them by
generic names. If you do know the birds, please tell
me what they are.)
He introduced himself as Mr Lin and told me he enjoyed
the recall show he saw earlier on with Tinkerbell.
That thrush flew away when I came nearer but he
returned at Mr Lin's cue to continue feeding.
A wild grouse was running about on the floor and with
short hops and flap of wings flew up to chair and down
again, all very much at ease with Mr Lin.
We had a long delightful conversation. He told me
those are wild birds. He is apparently very well
known in town for his ability to look after birds and
injured birds and animals are brought to him for R&R.
He said that thrush was newly fledged when it stunned
itself against a glass window and brought to him. It
stayed with him for over a year. It had full run of
the house and with open doors and windows, will go out
as well but will always return in the evening.
The grouse was left behind trapped in a puddle of
water when its mom ran away and was again brought over
to him and with him for 2 years now. It was even more
delightful to me when he told me the grouse will go
and do its toilet in the garden and get back to play
He cheerfully told me that rest of the folks think he
is a bit round the bend in the way he treated wildlife
and we laughed sensing that we do have a very common
bond in our relationships with animals. He is by far
my superior. His charges are wild unlike most of our
fids which are breed and already used to humans. And
yet, he developed such amazing bonds with them that
they followed him about the house. They have full run
to the outside but they chose to stay on with him.
I know I should have asked how he trained them and I
will the next time I go back there. In the
conversation, he struck me with his gentleness with
the creatures and with his emphasis on how important
it is to understand their feelings. So instead of
talking about training as I should, we talked about
the feelings of birds and animals.
He emphasised that he never yearned to keep the birds
with him and his main focus is to help them recover
and let them go. Of course, if they like to stay,
they are welcomed to stay too.
While we were talking, a blue glossy starling kept
hopping and flying above us in the rafter. He told me
that starling is still very shy and too wary of
Tinkerbell and myself to come down. That came via an
unfortunate collision with glass window.
He then introduced me to two tiny birds that flew to
him the moment the cage was opened and taking turns to
be feed from a syringe.
He told me he had kept the beautiful Taiwan blue
magpie, hawks and eagles before they eventually left
There was this little squirrel running all over and
too curious about Tinkerbell for my liking. We both
were concerned that both may be hurt and that little
squirrel was kept away.
It was getting really late and regretfully, I had to
go. I am glad I meet a real bird whisperer, Mr Lin of
The next time I get back, I will be taking him a
present of a clicker and will be exchanging notes with
him on clicker training and I will be lapping up all
the pearls that he can cast before me.
With warmest regards
Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter
earlier emails and photo links on Tink -