From: shan lung <shanlung9@y...>
Date: Sat Nov 8, 2003 1:50 am
Subject: Parrot on shoulder - being gentle
Folks, hello again!
I am back later than I wanted and trying to write this email a 2nd time courtesy of Bill Gates and his Windoze which crashed my PC just as I was about to press the send button.
I am unable to answer all directly as I seem to be perpertually
running short on time. It is after midnight here and I got
to get up early to go for yet another of our trips,
this time to a place called SuanLinSee that's about 20 km from
Hsitou that I have been to 4-5 times. Then this guy told me why
was I mucking with Hsitou when SuanLinSee is much more awesome.
This coming trip may be the last of the photo shoot of
Tinkerbell as my dear wife after just coming back from San Diego
will be heading off this monday to UK, of course, leaving me
behind to make the money to pay for her trip and to clean and
slave for the beasties all on my own for the next 4 weeks.
While I am happy that folks seem to find what I wrote
to be useful,I am concerned that while words may convey
information, the samewords can also mislead.
I do not advocate you allow your fid to be on
shoulder. I try to list out behaviours that you can take into account FOR
YOU TO DECIDE IF THEY CAN BE ALLOWED TO BE ON YOUR SHOULDER. I do
not even speak for CAGs not to mention of bigger and more powerful
fids like 2s. I speak of Tinkerbell. If you are in doubt, DO NOT ALLOW THEM
TO BE WHERETHEY CAN HURT YOU.
Considering that your fid and you will likely be
spending a lifetime together, does it matter if you do take a week , or a
month, or two months longer to establish a good relationship?
I wrote out what I thought to be point by point. To
keep that brief,I had to leave out other steps. So if you form the
impression the process is quick that can be dangerous to yourself.
So Kimberly, please be patient especially with your M2
Physical injury to yourself may heal fast. Healing
for your mental state of mind may never heal completely if you
want to rush the process and end up fearing your charge.
Tinkerbell came to me via a petshop when she was about
6 months old. She barely allow me to head rub her at the beginning.
When she did, I used the head-rubbing exercises to slowly extend my
fingers at the same time to rub her wings and back and slowly her
legs and body as well. Her liking for head rubs lead her to slowly
allow other parts of her to be touched until the point that she
did not mind that at all. Teaching of 'gentleness' came only after
Clicker training was a daily affair with her to slowly
develop the bond. That all took time, longer time than what you
may have inferred from my earlier letter.
So please look at the long term and enjoy your fids
whenever you spend time with them.
--- In Bird-Click@yahoogroups.com, shan lung
I count myself very fortunate to have Tinkerbell.
You can see often enough from the photos that I allow
her to be on my shoulders. To avoid misunderstanding,
I need to clarify further why I do allow her there.
Whether on not you allow your charge to be on your
shoulders is something very personal as the danger to
yourself is very real. You must never allow yourself
to be badly hurt.
Obviously, if you need a hand help perch to get your
fid to step up on, that fid definately should never be
allowed on your shoulder.
If your fid does not recognise and immediately respond
on 'step up' to your hand and 'step up' from hand to
perches, he/she should not be allowed on shoulder
If your fid cannot be headrubbed or beakrubbed by you,
that fid must also stay off your shoulder.
Imho, that even if they do all the above, that will
not be enough grounds for them to be on the shoulder.
It is not enough that you 'trust' them and they
'trust' you that they be allowed on shoulder either.
Trust may be misplaced.
The concept of gentleness also must be taught to them
and they must understand the word ' gentle' and
'gently' and act on that immediately. Only then, you
can consider if they can be allowed on your shoulders.
It was from clicker training that I developed the
strong bond with Tinkerbell.
She first allowed head rubs and later on, came and
demand head rubs on her own initiative.
While giving her head rubs or beak rubs, I also
introduced to her the concept of gentleness. I give
her vigorous head rubs. From time to time, while head
rubbing her, I will say ' gentle, gentle' or 'gently'.
At those times, I run my finger very delicately with
the finger tip barely touching her feathers or beak.
I sometimes even use one of her molted feather to
barely touch her feathers to gently stroke her.
Some of the games she plays with me can be very
vigorous. While she never hurt me, during those
times, she may beak me hard. At 'gentle, gentle' cue
from me, she eases up immediately. A few bouts of
cage time for her reinforced to her that gentleness is
important if she wants to remain with me.
She also loves to give me manicure, nibbling on the
cuticle and biting harder on the nails and sometimes
digging her beak into the quick under the nails.
Tinkerbell always eases up when I tell her 'gentle
gentle'. This was only at the beginning as since
then, she knows where and when she can exert pressure
and when to let up.
When she got to my shoulder, she beak my ear lobe. It
got to the stage now where she may dig the tip of her
beak into my ear to nibble. Again, 'gently gently'
cued her to be more gentle that she knows and respond
to at once.
> Even so, every morning/evening when she gets her head
> rubs, I still will do to her the 'gentle' routine
> because she likes it and I like to reinforce that with
> Unfortunately, it works only with me and my person.
> She will ignore all the 'gentle gentle' when she want
> to tear the buttons off my shirt. After her first
> refusal to listen to me, I stopped using 'gentle
> gentle' when she want to tear off the buttons to avoid
> giving her any further chance to lessen the value. I
> tell her instead 'no buttons' and push her head away.
> If Bim or Zor gets too near me and I see her walking
> with determination to them, I do not bother with
> 'gentle gentle' but tell Bimbo or Zorro to go away. I
> do not want to take the chance that the other two get
I focused on 'gentle gentle' only with regards to my
body and on other people.
With warmest regards
Joy - wife, Tinkerbell - CAG & surrogate daughter
earlier emails and photo links on Tink -