The bigger the parrot, the louder they tend to be (though don't count the little guys out!) Likewise, the more parrots you have, the louder they'll be, like this macaw (and his macaw buddy in the background).
Bird noise can be bothersome or it can be more serious. Whether you are looking to move into an apartment building that permits birds, you live in close proximity to others in a condominium or housing project that permits birds, or you are looking to follow noise ordinances, strategies do exist to be respectful to your neighbors.
Here are five strategies to help you take steps to keep your birds quiet and respectful for your neighbors.
Pick A Good "Apartment” Bird
Bourke’s parakeets make a nice apartment bird, according to Kashmir Csaky, IAABC-certified parrot behavior consultant. They are naturally quiet. This species is not very active compared to other Australian parakeets, and are calm during dawn and dusk.
Prepare For Your Bird's "Noisy Time”
Csaky said that if you are in a house, apartment, condominium or similar housing that is close to neighbors who might be bothered, "you should expect noise at certain times of the day.” There are three main times apartment dwellers should be aware of the noisiest times for birds:
Early in the morning
When feeding the bird.
You can pass this knowledge onto your neighbors so they know when it’s bird noisy time.
Keep Your Bird On A Schedule
Plan out when your bird will be up, and when she’ll go to bed. If you have a noise ordinance, or if your neighbors leave early in the morning, one simple strategy to calm a noisy bird is to wait until it’s a good time to wake your bird up. Csaky gives an example: "If your neighbors are gone by 8 a.m. and you don’t have to leave until 9 a.m.,” you can keep your bird in a dark room until 7:30 a.m. "That way it’s not going to wake anybody up.”
You can do this by keeping your bird in a dark room, with her cage cover. This will minimize your bird’s likelihood to scream if there is a noise ordinance or if you wake up before your neighbors leave.
Likewise, if quiet time is at 10 p.m., plan to have your bird in bed and her cage covered, so you don’t disturb anyone.
A good bird for an apartment is the Bourke's parakeet. This bird is the same size as a budgie (parakeet), but much quieter.
Feed Your Bird Before Sunset
Csaky recommends following a bird’s natural circadian rhythm to help reduce your bird’s likelihood to be noisy. "If you have fed your bird by sunset or earlier, especially in the winter,” this will reduce the likelihood of them making excessive noises. Based on their daily or circadian rhythms in the wild, they are tired and are used to falling asleep in the wild around the same time sunset is.
Modify Your Bird’s Noisy Behavior
Csaky recommends modifying a bird’s behavior by teaching her to signal for your attention instead of screaming for your attention. Have your bird do "something they can do instead of screaming,” she said. Whether it’s lifting their wings, going around in a circle or talking to you to get your attention, modify your bird’s behavior. Talking is particularly effective because if they are talking back to you, they won’t be screaming.
Want more info on pet bird noise? Check out these articles:
Pet Bird Noise 101
Do's & Don'ts For Screaming Parrots