Screaming Behavior Mods

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
231
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
It’s fairly easy to inadvertently train a bird to scream...

I have a friend that has a B&G with zero manners. Set the bird down, if it sees you it screams to be picked up, and continues to scream until, guess what, it gets picked up... and every time this bird throws a fit, it gets picked up.

Ergo, the bird has been trained to throw a fit, and scream.

With a large too, it’s even easier. Just hold the bird too much, and keep it entertained! Sure, it’s fun. And they are little love sponges… until you set them down and they become psychotic!

Don't want that? STRUCTURE THE INTERACTION, TEACH THE BIRD TO PLAY ON IT'S OWN... That is ultimately the key to preventing screaming problems. They still vocalize a couple of times a day. Feeding time, when I get home from work, when they know it's pick me up time... other than that? Not a peep... IF YOU TRAIN THEM PROPERLY... If not, don't complain about the bird doing exactly what you trained it to do.

Knowledge is required with toos and big macs especially. Problem birds are generally accidentally created. They don't come that way.

Never scream at a bird who is screaming. It only makes them louder. In fact, with many large toos and macaws, it initiates a game of who can yell louder. (And how much fun is it for a bird to play a game he will win every time?! Oh, yeah, we can play this one all day!) The next time your bird starts yelling? Do the opposite! Speak in a whisper! He’ll have to quiet down and focus on you to hear what you are saying. Now he’s quiet and distracted, and no longer screaming. Now focus him on something else, and maybe he’ll play with that instead…

Screaming protocols are as follows: When the bird starts screaming, he is asked to quiet down. (My command is “Too loud.” Pardon the pun.) If he continues, the cage cover comes out, and gets thrown on the floor in front of the bird. If he still continues, you cover 3 sides of the cage. If he continues after 3 sides are covered, then he gets all the way covered.

Once he quiets down, you uncover the front of the cage and praise him for being good. If he remains quiet, the cover comes off and he again gets praised and rewarded for being good.

SCREAMING BIRDS GET IGNORED. THEY DO NOT GET REWARDED AT ALL…

QUIET BIRDS GET EXTRA ATTENTION…

You must be 100% consistent or it won’t work. It can’t be sometimes. It must be every time. Tantrums don’t get rewarded!
 

GIJoe

New member
Jun 24, 2014
26
0
Athens, TN
Parrots
Goffins Cockatoo
Really needed this!! Our Goffins is getting bad with the screaming, only when she knows I am home.....
Looks like I've inadvertently done the spoiling here..... ��
 

KimKim

New member
May 5, 2013
243
0
Parrots
CAG
Questions :) what if the bird takes the cover off? And if not covered, but you left the area because of them screaming, what if they scream when they see you returning to them to praise for being quiet?
 

ToriJo

New member
Nov 12, 2014
47
0
Ontario Canada
Parrots
KiKi 2yr old GCC
Great post! Interested if anyone has advice on the above question I'd appreciate it too!

Due to the dog situation in our house (this summer all but one dog is moving out!) Kiki's cage is in my room, when the dogs are put up I bring her out into the rest of the h ouse with me but typically I have to come in and out while cooking/laundry/errands. When she is put up in her cage and I'm leaving for the day she is fine but when I'm home and she is out on her cage or pirch and go to leave the room this prompts screaming/ticking sounds. I've been working on leaving her sight of vision for short periods of time and returning with praise for her being quiet but at times instead of a contact call or scream she does a ticking sound...that she can do for minutes on end. I don't want to come back into her sight while she is screaming or immediately after (I make sure if she does scream while I'm out to wait for 10 seconds of quiet before coming in) but this ticking makes that rather difficult as she really gets rolling with that noise. Any advice?
 
OP
Birdman666

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
231
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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I'd just ignore it. It will probably resolve itself over time.
 

AshMGon

Member
Feb 10, 2015
34
0
NJ
Parrots
Brotogeris (white-winged) Parakeet
If you walk into the room and the bird starts screaming, the moment the scream begins, you walk right out again. Only reward the bird when he/she makes noise that you like. For example, a whistle or a 'hello'.

The cover thing works...sometimes. When a bird is REALLY conditioned, especially a large U2, that cover is going to come off the cage.

The moment the bird screams, abruptly walk away. Usually, the screaming is to get attention. The bird is trying to find a way to get you to pay attention, and if screaming does the opposite, they will find another way. My brotogeris (they are surprisingly loud...ear ringing screams!) has resorted to ringing his bell for food and attention. And I make sure I reward him with that.

Though, brotogeris scream when they fly, too. I encourage him to fly around the house (like he is right at this moment) so I reward him for that, too. That does not reinforce his screaming thankfully.

Reward the good and ignore the bad. Distraction with other tricks should work well (if they are screaming while outside). My brotogeris does not do tricks, though. So that's just based off of what I heard.
 

flyingron

Member
Jan 3, 2015
190
2
Chantilly, VA
Parrots
Bacca (Quaker)
When Bacca screams (unless we suspect it's the "I gotta poop" screech in which case she just gets put on the poopy pearch) she goes to the cage. She hates that. She may screech some more but soon she'll either start making more acceptable whistles or her latest favorite is to go "Good bird. Good Bacca."
 

Sherry1

New member
Mar 1, 2015
51
0
California
Parrots
"Quinn C. Pickle" Dusky Conure born 12/14/14 home 3/18/15
I've had my baby for just 3 weeks now and he is pretty quiet for the most part. The only time he gets really loud is when I leave the room (he'll join in with birds outside or the vacuum or lawn mower but those aren't a problem because he stops as soon as it is off). He'll occasionally scream when my husband or boys leave a room but it is 99% of the time when I leave even if someone else is in the room with him. The only time he doesn't is if he is busy with something and doesn't notice I left. I can literally count on one hand how many times I've been 'allowed' to leave a room. I know he is trying to call me back and I try not to re-enter the room until he is quiet or at least 'talking nice' then I come back and tell him, "That's nice talking". But sometimes he'll start screaming if he even suspects I'm leaving the room like if he sees me move in the direction of the doorway even if I wasn't going to leave the room. He'll stop as soon as he sees I didn't leave but I don't want him to think that his screaming is what made me come back. He will stop on his own after a minute or 2 but that isn't much fun for those who are left in the room with him maybe trying to watch tv or talk on the phone and I don't want to be held hostage to him. I mean, sometimes I'd like to be able to go to the bathroom without an audience. Any tips or tricks you think would work to make him understand that I'm not disappearing forever??
 

Christinenc2000

New member
Oct 8, 2014
3,320
3
North Carolina
Parrots
Big Bird _ Blue & Gold Macaw
BB use to Scream when I left the room. Some might not agree but I would yell ( not loud ) back to him Hello Every Scream was met with that. Now when I leave and he misses me he will yell HELLO and i return the call so to speak with Hello. It cut the yell time down and as long as he can hear me now and then he is fine. He calls I answer. Yup dude I am still here just not in view.

Oh and If I leave for the day I always tell him Good Bye so hopefully he knows I will not return for awhile. :)
Returning home I get a very loud HI HI HI
Different words for different actions
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
231
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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Flock calling is different from screaming.

Flock calling is just keeping in contact with a flock mate, checking up on them when you can't see them...

A LOT of conure screaming is actually, I can't see you, so I'm gonna check on you...
 

Sherry1

New member
Mar 1, 2015
51
0
California
Parrots
"Quinn C. Pickle" Dusky Conure born 12/14/14 home 3/18/15
Ok, I guess he isn't screaming and maybe I don't know what screaming is as he may not have ever done it. I do try to talk to him from the other room and what worked yesterday was I started whistling and I think he was not sure what I was doing so he stopped calling for me to listen.
 
OP
Birdman666

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
231
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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My dusky came to me as one of the worst screamers I ever had...

Nothing I did helped.

My RED LORED AMAZON put a stop to it! GOT RIGHT IN HIS FACE...

The screaming stopped immediately!
 

June2012

New member
Apr 12, 2015
194
0
Southern California
Parrots
Still on that mission, but looking for my mushy! <3
My dusky came to me as one of the worst screamers I ever had...

Nothing I did helped.

My RED LORED AMAZON put a stop to it! GOT RIGHT IN HIS FACE...

The screaming stopped immediately!

I can just imagine your Amazon slapping his face with her wing. XD But how do they stop each other screams??
 

chris-md

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2010
4,320
2,053
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Thank you birdman. Very informative.

So what about when a bird is going through the terrible twos? It's screaming that ultimately resolves itself, so I hear. (my one experience raising a young bird was over a decade ago so I don't remember much about this). I also understand, depending on the bird, it's fairly constant.

If it's fairly constant, how do you avoid reinforcing it, since you cant ignore the bird all day? Do the rules of engaging attention with a screaming parrot not apply at this stage? Am I making any sense?
 
OP
Birdman666

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
231
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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If it's constant he gets covered until it stops.

When he quiets down he gets the front uncovered and gets attention.

When he quiets down all the way, he gets uncovered.

The cover gets dragged out and thrown in front of him when he's loud again so he can see it. (Eventually, this is all you have to do.)

If he doesn't quiet down, he gets covered again. He has to associate the covering with the noise, and the attention with the quiet. He has to learn that screaming doesn't get him what he wants...

Consistency is the key.

And it isn't fun for anyone.
 
OP
Birdman666

Birdman666

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Sep 18, 2013
9,904
231
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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I can just imagine your Amazon slapping his face with her wing. XD But how do they stop each other screams??

Actually, she was on a boing over the conure playstand. She beaned him on the head with a foot toy. Then she climbed down onto the conure playstand, got beak to beak with him and intimidated the crap out of him, and did her full on AMAZON BATTLE CRY - full volume - drowned the conure out completely, nearly knocked him off the playstand...

Then she climbed back on her boing, and pulled off another foot toy, and sat there dangling it over his head. The second he let out a peep, she nailed him in the head with it...

And before he recovered ANOTHER foot toy was untied, and was dangling over his head...

That little conure was a great talker, and used language in context. When he saw Sally dangling another bead over his head he quite literally said "Oh $hit!" He moved one way, she repositioned herself with the bead over his head. He moved. She moved. The second he squawked. She nailed him again...

HE SHUT UP, AND WAS QUIET FROM THAT POINT ON!!!

Dammdest thing I ever saw!!!



Same bird used to go BIG BIRD on my ex-wife the minute she raised her voice. WINGS OUT, FULL ON TAIL FLAIR, EYES PINNING, TERRITORIAL INTRUSION NOISES... BACK OFF OR I WILL ATTACK YOU!!!

My ex - to this day - is terrified of that bird!

But she also shuts up around Sally!

Sally is THAT protective of me... She does the amazon "territorial" thing, but I am her territory. (Which is exactly why I'm not taking her this weekend!)

This could also be the secret to why other birds just immediately behaved when they came into my house. THE FLOCK ETTIQUITE AROUND HERE IS ENFORCED BY THE OTHER BIRDS.

"KNOCK IT OFF..." IS A PHRASE EVERYONE KNOWS IN CONTEXT!!!
 
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akrrm

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Apr 29, 2014
102
0
New Jersey
Parrots
Swoop~Blue and Gold Macaw (30 years young)
Flock calling is different from screaming.

Flock calling is just keeping in contact with a flock mate, checking up on them when you can't see them...

I think my macaw has been doing this. Our 25 year old LSC2 passed away on 4/18 at home after a long illness. Wooper is usually pretty quiet but has let out some blood curdling screams Saturday, Sunday and yesterday. Normally if he would yell, Scooter would answer with her usual meeehh. I kept telling my husband he was waiting for her to answer him, she didn't, so he kept getting louder and louder. He hasn't done it today. I hope he will be okay without another parrot.
 
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Birdman666

Birdman666

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
9,904
231
San Antonio, TX
Parrots
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
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Were they buddy birds? Could be grief...

When Rachel died, her favorite amazon became inconsolable, and wandered from room to room, calling her by name...

They get attached to other birds that way too...

Handle him more. Show him the empty cage. Explain that the other bird is gone... I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes that gives them closure.
 

Weezerj

New member
Mar 29, 2015
381
1
Portland, Oregon
Parrots
Illiger's Macaw (Loki)
Were they buddy birds? Could be grief...

When Rachel died, her favorite amazon became inconsolable, and wandered from room to room, calling her by name...

They get attached to other birds that way too...

Handle him more. Show him the empty cage. Explain that the other bird is gone... I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes that gives them closure.

The more I read, the more I am impressed with how smart these creatures are....
 

Hawk

Banned
Banned
Dec 5, 2014
1,052
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2
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1
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Michigan, USA
Parrots
5 Parrots, 8 year old Blue-fronted Amazon, 2 1/2 yr. old African Grey, 2 3/4 year old Senegal. 5 month old ekkie, 5 month old Albino parakeet. Major Mitchell Cockatoo, passed away at age 68.
It’s fairly easy to inadvertently train a bird to scream...

I have a friend that has a B&G with zero manners. Set the bird down, if it sees you it screams to be picked up, and continues to scream until, guess what, it gets picked up... and every time this bird throws a fit, it gets picked up.

Ergo, the bird has been trained to throw a fit, and scream.

With a large too, it’s even easier. Just hold the bird too much, and keep it entertained! Sure, it’s fun. And they are little love sponges… until you set them down and they become psychotic!

Don't want that? STRUCTURE THE INTERACTION, TEACH THE BIRD TO PLAY ON IT'S OWN... That is ultimately the key to preventing screaming problems. They still vocalize a couple of times a day. Feeding time, when I get home from work, when they know it's pick me up time... other than that? Not a peep... IF YOU TRAIN THEM PROPERLY... If not, don't complain about the bird doing exactly what you trained it to do.

Knowledge is required with toos and big macs especially. Problem birds are generally accidentally created. They don't come that way.

Never scream at a bird who is screaming. It only makes them louder. In fact, with many large toos and macaws, it initiates a game of who can yell louder. (And how much fun is it for a bird to play a game he will win every time?! Oh, yeah, we can play this one all day!) The next time your bird starts yelling? Do the opposite! Speak in a whisper! He’ll have to quiet down and focus on you to hear what you are saying. Now he’s quiet and distracted, and no longer screaming. Now focus him on something else, and maybe he’ll play with that instead…

Screaming protocols are as follows: When the bird starts screaming, he is asked to quiet down. (My command is “Too loud.” Pardon the pun.) If he continues, the cage cover comes out, and gets thrown on the floor in front of the bird. If he still continues, you cover 3 sides of the cage. If he continues after 3 sides are covered, then he gets all the way covered.

Once he quiets down, you uncover the front of the cage and praise him for being good. If he remains quiet, the cover comes off and he again gets praised and rewarded for being good.

SCREAMING BIRDS GET IGNORED. THEY DO NOT GET REWARDED AT ALL…

QUIET BIRDS GET EXTRA ATTENTION…

You must be 100% consistent or it won’t work. It can’t be sometimes. It must be every time. Tantrums don’t get rewarded!

Amen !!!

My Zon was a screamer...wake the dead and then some type of screaming.
All to be picked up. Actually both of them are like that, or were. It was hard to convince my wife to " ignore " the bird when they scream like that, they were associating screaming as a way to get picked up, and they quit
the asking to be picked up, for a while anyway. ( Up up..come on come on. hurry...up up .....they'd say ).

Never thought of throwing the cover back over cage. However I did that with my grey...it worked.....now instead of screaming...he hunts me down and climbs up quietly. Says "grey grey wants smoooooooooch...pop ( imitating kiss)...then bobs head. I can't resist that guy. Far too smart for his own good.
 

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