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Tips To Quiet Screaming Parrots

The main reason your parrot screams all the time: You. Here's how to change that.

Ashley Richards

blue-and-gold macaw
Parrots communicate verbally in the wild, and as pets in the home.

Parrots make noise, that’s what they do. They communicate verbally in the wild, and they communicate verbally as pets in the home. Humans, however, have a natural instinct to quiet loud vocalizations. Pet bird owners need to understand that their parrot will vocalize to an extent, as that is the sign of a healthy, socialized bird, but by learning the proper methods, you can encourage your bird to communicate in a clearer, more pleasant way.

1) What Is Excessive Noise?
It is natural for parrots to be vocal. Just because some vocalization may be irritating, it may not be excessive vocalization. So what is excessive? Behavior consultants say that birds screaming for hours at a time are likely to be vocalizing too much. When your bird’s verbal communication reaches a point where screams no longer carry meaning, then you may have a problem with excessive vocalization.

2) Reverse Your Reaction
Humans react to a cry or unwanted noise by trying to console the source or interacting with the source to try to minimize the noise. However, giving the parrot attention each time it screams is a common mistake bird owners make. If you are responding to your bird’s excessive screaming, even in a negative way (screaming at the bird) when, you are encouraging the loud behavior. By calling to your bird or reappearing in the bird’s room to react to your parrot’s noise, you are reinforcing the unwanted behavior by showing the bird it receives attention upon screaming.

While it may be difficult, try not to call or go to your bird when it is continuously screaming. React only during a quiet break in the parrot’s vocalization. Some parrots that have inadvertently been taught to scream excessively have just short breaks between the constant screaming, but no matter how brief, you should react to the quieter behavior. If your parrot begins to scream less loudly or not at all for a short time, peak your head into the room or a call to your parrot from another room to let the bird know it receives attention during quieter periods. 

3) What Does That Scream Mean?
Parrots vocalize to communicate to their human companion and parrot owners need to understand what a bird’s vocalization is signifying, such as an immediate issue or problem. If your bird makes a call signifying they are scared or in trouble, you need to react. If the call carries no meaning or is an attempt by the parrot to scream orders, you should ignore the screaming until it subsides.

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Tips To Quiet Screaming Parrots

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Reader Comments
anything to help with the screams
Kelly, Troy, AK
Posted: 7/17/2007 10:18:07 AM
major help...thanks
Chris, Vinton, VA
Posted: 7/17/2007 7:59:18 AM
I have a Umbrella Cockatoo. A wonderful female, named Snowflake. She screams excessively loud. I go out, use a stern voice, and say, naughty, naughty Snowflake, be quiet. I say, "go on your bed," and cover the cage with a king size sheet. She stops immediately. I uncover no less than 20 mins. She is 10 1/2 years old. It WORKS. By the way, she has a platform bed with a towel on it to sleep on at night. Try the bed. Give the bird a place to rest its feet, less problems with feet when older bird
Rae Ashby, Sun City Center, FL
Posted: 7/16/2007 11:57:56 AM
great advice!
stephanie, no smithfield, RI
Posted: 7/16/2007 9:35:56 AM
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