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Old 03-24-2019, 05:44 PM
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Rescued cockatoo screeching

We had owned a Too for 38 years, so we arenít new to bird care.

But we recently rescued an Umbrella that had been relegated to a garage for two years. He automatically adopted my wife as his owner. But the moment she leaves his sight, he screeches until her return. We leave the TV on, he has toys, food, and I realize they need to be mentally stimulated, but not sure how to help with his separation anxiety.

Any suggestions for a new member? Thank you in advance, and a pleasure to be in the group.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:19 PM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

how long have you had him? his anxiety is understandable, and hopefully with some time and patience, his insecurity and separation anxiety will fade.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:22 PM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

Weíve had him for 2 years. We actually adopted him before our other one died. But his behavior has always been the same.
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Old 03-24-2019, 08:41 PM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

same behavior if you (yourself) are not in the house?
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:53 PM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

If I come into the room, sometimes he will quieren, but doesnít want me to hold him, only her. If we are both in the room and she leaves, he screeches again until I talk to him for a moment. If we leave the house, he screeches forever.
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Old 03-25-2019, 02:01 AM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

sounds like you do have a problem. i wonder how you get any sleep. maybe if you play a recording of yourselves having a long conversation, he'll think you're both there but in another room. haha
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:42 AM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

what's the longest you've let him scream? I don't even go back in when mine is screaming. If the bird gets quiet, reenter and praise "thanks for getting quiet" etc---at first, maybe only require 10 seconds of sustained quiet before returning and praising, but gradually, you will want to increase the time. Also, if my bird doesn't get enough sleep she becomes more prone to screeching etc.

Side-note: This bird sounds as though he does prefer your wife, so she should be very cautious about making sure that bond doesn't trigger hormones-given the fact that you are already dealing with behaviors, the last thing you want is to add more. Make sure your bird has no access to dark spaces...bedding, paper piles, under furniture, under blankets/pillows/ under clothing etc. Cuddling cockatoos is a bad idea--they love it, but it is sexual to them in most cases. Stick to petting on the head only.

Last edited by noodles123; 03-25-2019 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:57 PM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

Thank you for such great information. Those are things that I was unaware of, and that gives me some insight into one of the problems. He always wants to burrow under her jacket and I had no idea why. Again thank everyone so much. I now have the info I need to proceed. Thank you
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:18 PM
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Re: Rescued cockatoo screeching

I play a variation of the game Peek-a-Boo. Stand next to him with a sheet in your hands. Hold the sheet over your body, say Peek a Boo, then drop the sheet, and make a big deal out of greeting him after you've reappeared. Gradually increase the time between saying peek a boo and dropping the sheet to about a minute. Then gradually work your way out of the room. Once you're out of the room, hide behind a wall, so you don't need the sheet anymore, and also gradually increase the time between saying it and reappearing. This is basically a combination of pavlovian conditioning and tolerance training, teaching him that whenever you say peek a boo (or really, whatever word you want), that you're going to reappear soon. It helps a lot with separation anxiety. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple months, but if you go slow and steady, you should get to the point where you can just shout "Peek a Boo" from anywhere in the house when he gets loud and he'll be reassured that you're coming back soon.

Additionally, you can also teach him to "use his inside voice". When he starts screaming, talk to him at a normal volume. Eventually he will get curious of what you're saying and stop screaming long enough for him to hear. Then you tell him to "use your inside voice", and when he responds at a reasonable volume, reward him with love or treats or whatever works for him. This also takes a couple weeks, and isn't perfect, but I get about 80% effectiveness with my birds and having them drop their volume when I tell them to use their inside voices.

And I just re-read the OP, so replace all instances of "you" and "you're" with "your wife". She needs to be the one to do it since the separation anxiety is with her.
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:43 PM
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Rescued cockatoo screeching

If you only just rescued him then it might be a good idea to just take him with you as often as possible. I got my U2 a medium sized travel dog crate where I installed a perch and for months, before we got her a big indoor aviary, we would just take her with us. It might help with his insecurities and also adjust to life with you.


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