Fireman's high-flying act ends in parakeet-winning grab

Top News | Wallis Wang 30 Nov 2020

A fireman with natural catching skills was raised 10 meters into a tree in Victoria Park yesterday morning to rescue a flyaway parakeet.

And it was a successful mission, with the male monk parakeet named Kam Jai ("Golden Boy") brought back to earth to be reunited with his minder, Tam Kam-chi.

Tam is a tai chi champion and an instructor who had been taking his young winged pal - Kam Jai is 11 months old - for simple flying lessons while he was teaching martial art skills in the park.

But as Tam was jogging to warm up, Kam Jai, who despite his name is more gray than anything, became unsettled on his master's shoulder and flew away.

"He was flying low to the ground at first and I tried to bring him back to a bamboo stick," Tam said. "But he became more scared and flew to a tree."

That was a flight of close to 50 meters, Tam said. "I didn't know he could fly that far."

Tam then started calling the parakeet's name and clapping his hands, but his pet chose to stand high and firm.

Then one of Tam's tai chi students called for help and firemen duly arrived at the scene. They considered what was required and decided one of them would go aloft on a hydraulic platform to make a grab.

A firemen was duly lifted and, using food to attract Kam Jai's attention, managed to get a grip on the bird and came back down carrying him.

Tam said he bought Kam Jai for HK$3,000 at the bird market in Mong Kok in February. He would clip his wings to prevent him from flying away when on outings. "But his feathers have grown back recently so he was able to fly away."

Tam explained that he preferred clipping to putting his bird in a cage that would prevent him moving around.

Now, though, he will have to do some more clipping or use a chain to keep Kam Jai in check.

Tam said Kam Jai has a solid range of words, including the usual "Hello," "Good morning" and "Thank you."

And there was a "thank you" to the firemen before he was taken home.

"You have played enough today," Tam said to the bird.

A day earlier, a parrot named Sugar also had to be rescued by firemen from a tree in Western District while on an outing with owners on Friday night.

The four-year-old Caique - owned by a couple named Tsang - was hanging upside down from a 10-meter high tree near the couple's apartment on Pok Fu Lam Road on Saturday morning.

The parrot's chain attached to one foot was caught in the tree and was too high for a simple rescue. The couple then called police for help.

According to the couple, Sugar was frightened by the headlights of a fast-moving truck.

The couple said they would not take Sugar out of his cage in future as they are afraid he would fly off again.

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