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What Should I Do With My Screaming Conure?

Should you ignore your screaming parrot? Try to see what she wants? Find out what to do with a screaming conure with these tips.

Sally Blanchard

Q) I know "noisy” is basically the definition of conure. I hate to use that word with Kiwi because I love her so much but she is squawking for attention nonstop. Kiwi has been so loud this past year. I know she has had a lot of changes, which I am hoping is the cause of this behavior, but it has been getting irritating. We moved from my mother’s house into our own (we just got married).

I don't know what to do about it because I am afraid that if I go to her when she is squawking it will reinforce the behavior. This morning, thank goodness, she only did a quick morning squawk and that was it. A little while after, she did it, perhaps for a good half hour. I went into her room to say good morning. Of course, the moment she heard me get up she started squawking. So I had to wait a little longer and then went into her room to say good morning and now she is on my shoulder being quiet. Any advice? I know conures are loud, but it is to the point that if she hears me cough she goes crazy calling for me. She is very needy for attention — all day, everyday.

A) As you know, screaming is normal for parrots, and conures can be loud. That said, even conures can increase their levels of screaming for attention or self-stimulation. We could spend a lot of time trying to figure out why her screaming has intensified and not hit on the absolutely right reason. You should never pay attention to a screaming parrot, but there are exceptions to that rule. One day I forgot to return my caique’s water dish to his cage. His screaming became incessant, and I felt pretty stupid when I realized that he was telling me to give him his water. 

Sun conure
Screaming is normal for parrots, and conures can be loud.

Unfortunately, ignoring screaming behavior rarely does anything to change it. The first and most important advice I can give is to give your conure at least 10 to 30 minutes or more a day of in-your-face instructional interaction. This is not time cuddling; it is time spent playing and teaching a bird new behaviors. Simple behaviors, such as saying "Eagle girl” when she spreads her wings, or "Gimme four” when she lifts one foot, are easy behaviors that take advantage of things that a parrot does naturally. Teach her to say certain words or whistle calming songs. Praise her enthusiastically when she does positive behaviors. If she responds to praise, you may be able to stop the screaming by giving her the cue for these behaviors.

Teaching her to whistle certain songs can also be helpful. When my caique Spike starts his repetitive and grating call, I whistle "Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and he usually stops screaming and starts whistling. I am not a big fan of bird rooms. I think that ambient attention is really important for parrots. They want to be where the action is. If her cage was in the room where you spend most of your time, it would be far easier to notice her prelude to screaming and prevent it by getting her to substitute a more positive behavior.

Want to learn more?

Ways To Prevent Screaming In Pet Birds

Acceptable Parrot Screaming


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Posted: March 28, 2014, 5:45 p.m. PDT

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What Should I Do With My Screaming Conure?

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very good article
n, n, TN
Posted: 4/2/2014 5:14:17 AM
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