Happy BirdTricks Tuesday: This Week We Talk Screaming Parrots

You guys have been asking for this topic from the beginning, and so we thought we would give your OUR side of this topic. What we’ve done to avoid our birds from ever becoming screamers. Things you should be doing (or not doing!) on a daily basis with your bird.

For those of you experiencing an existing screaming problem, check out our Stop Screaming Course Flock Talk. Your ears (and neighbors) will thank you.

Next week we are bringing you a day-by-day look into what a week for us looks like out here for us. So if you have specifics you want to see or know about, let us know so we can make sure it include all the goodies!

32 comments

Merilyn Carney

Thank you for your insight on screaming. We had no trouble with our Major Mitchell units we acquired a sulphur crested who was visited by wild cockies. They both started screaming. I will put him out side more often and see how we go. What toys do you give them? The Major Mitchell is so cleaver at taking everything I buy him to pieces. I have spent a fortune on toys. I see the wild cockies in trees blighting off twigs and throwing them down so I give them those to keep them busy it works better with the Sulfer Crested and I give them sticks to chew. I find your videos most helpful thanks

Merilyn Carney
Jay

My wife and I have a challenging case for screaming – we have 3 older Macaws that we gave a new home that have many years of bad habits we can’t seem to break. They are a Severe, Scarlet and Catalina – and man, these birds scream! The larger ones don’t seem to like the Severe, we believe he was the spoiled bird of the bunch and they resent him for it (They even call him “brat”). He was the worst screamer of the bunch but we seem to have gotten him in check – but the bigger boys show no interest in stopping. They seem to enjoy screaming to rile all of our other birds up, and will scream when other birds are on stands with the intention of startling them and making them fly off in a panic (I think perhaps he’s screaming “Predator!” in their birdie language). My wife can handle the Scarlet, but I can’t touch him at all – he’ll tear me apart. And vice versa, I can handle the Catalina but he will tear my wife apart. They are about 30 and 25 years old, and from what we know they have always lived in the same cage together – if we try to separate them they get depressed and scream back and forth at each other even more. The only way I can stop them from screaming is standing in front of them and praise them as pretty birds over and over. As soon as I stop, it’s back to screaming. How should we go about breaking the years of bad habits, especially when they are inseparable but won’t work with both of us, and seem to enjoy screaming for the sake of screaming?

Jay
Cassandra

Awesome video as usual. I would love to know what is the best interior lighting for birds as they can see the flickering of certain types of lighting that we can’t see.

Cassandra
Terri Raab

I have thoroughly enjoyed your videos! Although my largest bird is a parrotlet, and many things just don’t apply to them, I have learned (or re-remembered) many things. I will miss BirdTricks Tuesday but I can only imagine how much time and effort these videos take, so I understand that all good things must come to an end. Looking forward to next week!

Terri Raab
Linda Ross

Thanks so much for this video. I rescued my OWA, last May. I was told they thought he was 10. I just love him. Almost every time I leave the room he screams. I have stayed out thinking that would get him to stop, but it doesn’t. I have toys in and on his cage, he really doesn’t play with them much. When I am home I leave his cage open. He goes in and out as he pleases. He just wants me around him all the time. It’s almost like he as anxiety when I leave the room or go out side. I travel out of state and go camping with him. He seems ok as long a he can see and be with me. Do you have any suggestions? Also how do I get him to eat more veggies?

Linda Ross
sherri means

I have a question in regards to being outside what can you do to keep snakes away from your bird cages I live in salt lake city, Utah and where I am at we have rattlesnakes and gopher snakes ect.. that always come in our yard, so I fear leaving them outside.

sherri means
Marietjie

Love, love, love Tuesdays. Thank you… Keep it coming

Marietjie
Nuzaik Mohamed

You’ve done a great job guys. There are many videos and information in the internet. But I dont think any of them are useful. So I appreciate your work. My cockatiel was a big screamer. But he is not screaming since four months. I didnt do anything to stop screaming. But I m lucky to have a parrot like that. He is now fully tamed and he can talk. Now he is enjoying the life with me.

Nuzaik Mohamed
Melanie Quintana

Thank you for yet another great BTT! I look forward to these every week! Overall, I wanted to send my heartfelt thanks to both of you for sharing your family, flock, and lives with us. The fact that you do it while raising a toddler, caring for a flock of wonderful birds, providing amazing entertainment, while living and performing on a cruise ship…for 6 months (!!) is beyond my comprehension. I mean, most of us have trouble just getting up, going to work, and getting home some days…I can’t imagine how you do it which is why I am so looking forward to next week’s edition. As much as I’d like to, I do not currently have a feathered fid of my own, and in my lengthy quest to find out as much as I can about owning and training a bird, I found out that my long-time battle with allergies may make me an unlikely candidate for adding one to my home. I’ve heard the many references to Dave’s allergies to parrots and wanted to get his first-hand opinion on how bad it is and what he does in particular, if anything, to help alleviate the problem. Note that my allergies have caused so many problems, I was finally forced to have major surgery about 1.5 years ago to help. I was somewhat allergic to my Boston Terrier (although, my love for him outweighed any effects I had and I refused to part with him until we sadly lost him last July.) I would imagine it’s much the same for you, but I’ve been told that birds can be especially hard on this condition. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Until then, I will enjoy living vicariously through your videos and blogs. Oh – and I think Jinx’s voice is adorable!!!

Melanie Quintana
Jamieleigh

You are rewarding them for screaming by talking to them and praising them, it will be a long journey to undo that and hard but it’s necessary to not do that anymore. The longer you wait and then go and reward for screaming, the longer and louder they feel they have to scream to get that reward so it’s important not to give in.

Jamieleigh
Jamieleigh

Full spectrum which you can get at www.cagesbydesign.com under the accessories tab.

Jamieleigh
Jamieleigh

I would probably use a different word for a recall cue just to start fresh and avoid hiccups. So for the other stuff, I would just avoid letting the bird ever get to the couch, by spending time with the bird in a different room or placing something on the couch it is unsure of and making it so that it wouldn’t want to be there, giving it somewhere better to be, etc. It’s not punishing if it’s avoidance. Also with disallowing things like chewing on you and such, if our birds are grabbing a necklace or doing something I find annoying while on me, I will kind of shrug or move so they get jolted away from it and if they really press on then I launch them off me. They are all VERY skilled in flight so they just fly around and usually come back, but with enough of that they won’t do it and if they do, then I just stop allowing them in that spot by then (give them something better or more interesting to do elsewhere).

Jamieleigh
Jamieleigh

I don’t know much about snakes since we don’t live in areas with them but I would ask local wildlife officials how to deter them naturally from your yard.

Jamieleigh
barbara defiore

Thank you for all that great information, but on the foraging toy what food or treat do I place not what I give daily this should be something special like what??

barbara defiore
Pete Heller

You’ve hit the trifecta. Your videos informative, entertaining and timely. Thank you for putting the energy into making them. I want to take your advice and set up an outdoor aviary. However, my neighbors aren’t very forgiving about noise. So it’d be great to hear whether you think it’d work to keep the bird indoors till after sunup, outdoors during the day, and then take him back in before sundown. Thanks!

Pete Heller
Jan Barker

We have embraced the dawn/dusk chorus at our cockatoo household as they have an indoor/outdoor aviary. To be honest the racket is not as bad as a leaf blower at 7am and, at the risk of anthropomorphizing, they sound so darned happy about making noise! However, Majek the U2 has now started a new vocalization that she does when she wants out of her cage I have tried not to respond to this vocalization but my question to you is this – How long must the period of silence be so that I know I am reinforcing silence rather than rewarding the vocalization when I come back into the room? I have probably gone overboard by leaving the shared space (out of sight for Majek) for up to 30 mins but sometimes the vocalization lasts 15 minutes or more. I do not want to inadvertently reward this vocalization because it is not at all pleasant :-) Thanks again for all of your great videos and advice. My flock has been very happy that I bought the cookbooks and am actually serving up great things to eat and forage for! Jan and the ’toos

Jan Barker
Candace H.

Thanks so much for the great tips each week! I had a follow-up question about using the bird’s name as the recall cue. I think I’ve accidentally trained my bird “Marco” to fly away from me when I say her name (yes, my bird is a girl named Marco). If she’s sitting with me and I say her name in a certain tone of voice, she flies away (which just happens to be what I intend at the time). Do you think she would be able to distinguish if I say her name using a very different tone of voice for recall? Or do you think it would be better to choose another cue word for recall? I also had a follow-up question from (I think) the second BTT. Someone had asked how to stop their bird from chewing on the couch. Your question in reply was, “Why is the bird allowed on the couch?” So, my question is, how would you go about “not allowing” something, versus punishing it?Just a few examples of behaviors I would like to “disallow” are: chewing on my clothes and hair, nibbling the corners of my mouth (wierd, I know), and stealing my food and my cats’ food. Our house has a very open floor plan, so it’s impossible to keep everything inaccessible to our bird. Thanks in advance, and looking forward to next week’s BTT and seeing what your day to day life is all about ;)

Candace H.
warrie

yes keep doing the videos they are fun to watch …actually nice to see that I am on the right track with my Green Wing macaw have been doing what you all said especially being outside more now that it’s warm Now and he is getting quieter . Thanks guys !!

warrie
Doreen Umberger

Thank you for addressing the way to get your bird to come back to you. I thought there was more to it than just calling their name. I’m at my mom’s house and have been here too long. We will be moving into a smaller house and a bird safe house. Koda got out one day and landed on the stack of boxes from my house. There was no way I could get to him. I called him and said I can’t get to you, you must come to me. He did right away. I praised him for the first time for him to come to me. I’m working on touch training. It is going great. He seems to enjoy it when we take time to do it. I love the videos and I hope you continue with them. I have been learning a lot. Koda is not a screamer. I purchased a baby toy which made all the different farm animals. We worked on that all the time. The other thing I used was a baby book with all types of animals. I didn’t know the noises to some of the animals but I’m still learning too. This has become a game for us. He is the one who says “Where is the rooster?” Guess who has to make the noise. Me! When my mom asks him he will purposely make the wrong animal noise then laugh at her. We have so much fun. I was told that you shouldn’t have your bird whistle, Is this true? Koda and I will make up our own songs. One of us will start and stop and the other will continue. This could go on for an hour. Thank you for all your help.

Doreen Umberger
Sebesa Stohldrier

Ok, your thoughts on flight training a macaw with handicapped feet? I have a 6+ year old severed with manged feet, she can flap and glide but can’t perch. I also have a 20 year old military, he can perch, fly at ground level, but climbing and perching is a Hail Mary, at best. The military would be a maybe for flight training. the severe, I wouldn’t know where to start…..she’s already passed touch training. I’ve already succeeded flight training 1 macaw, a flame, but she was 3 y/o. She mastered ascending and decending and coming when called. The Military has made his wishes known that he’ll nip anyone but me.

Sebesa Stohldrier
Amanda

Thank you so much for these videos! I’m very lucky in that none of my flock of seven are screamers. Granted my biggest is my Senegal parrot but he is also the quietest. Although I can’t have an outdoor aviary I do take my flock outside as often as possible in the short Canadian summer!

Amanda
Fred

Thank you Jamieleigh and Dave!!!

Fred
michael and Cookie

I think its good to know what your parrots problem is first before handling the screaming and that comes in time. When people come over, they go into Cookies room and see her, when she sees whos here, shes quite. Other times if nobody goes in and sees her then I take her out where everybody is and then put her back and shes quite. I’m the only one that handles Cookie and if I’m not here and my wife is and somebody comes over then she starts screaming, how my wife handles that is close her door. Doesn’t stop her but does mufflel the screaming. But over all shes not really a screamer. There are certain parrots that are bad and Macaws are at the top of the list, next is Cockatoos. And my office is in Cookies room so I’m there a lot and that helps. Keep em coming. Looking forward to next week.

michael and Cookie
Dee Dee

I love BTT! Thank you so much for your time!

Dee Dee
Natalie

Sorry I realize I am late watching this video but my question is how do you get your birds to forage? I know this is a natural behaviour but none of my parrots seem interested in foraging or foot toys … I have put their food in their or treats but they go untouched… Any suggestions? I don’t know if this matters but I have small birds cockatiels and parrotlets Thank you

Natalie

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