There are many birds that include screaming in their repertoire of vocalizations. Eagles and hawks can often be heard screaming as they soar overhead. Other common wild birds such as blue jays and crows also call in what many people would consider to be a scream. It is simply one of the ways they communicate.
In their native surroundings, many of the parrots that are kept as pets need to communicate with each other over long distances. Their contact call, alerting the flock mates of their location, or alarm calls signaling danger, often take the form of a piercing scream that can be heard for miles. The ability to produce incredibly loud sounds is necessary for their survival.
The screams of parrots, while a natural and instinctive behavior, can cause some problems when delivered in a confined space, and within close proximity of human beings. Though we love the beauty and intelligence of parrots, including their ability to mimic our speech, we often have a problem tolerating the extremes of their vocalizations. Their noise level can make them unsuitable as pets for some individuals and can challenge even the most patient bird lover at times.
Why Do Parrots Scream?
According to birdtricks.com, your bird always has a reason that causes it to scream. The parrot expends a considerable amount of energy in producing the sound and does not do so without a purpose. Your parrot is choosing to scream, and if you can understand why, it will make it easier to try to find a resolution to this problem.
Two types of screaming are:
- Screaming as a way of training you – Parrots are incredibly smart and quickly learn that their actions can have an effect on your behavior. They will attempt to manipulate you to satisfy their wishes, and their vocal prowess is one of their primary tools. Your parrot will learn that you respond to their screaming in a certain way and may derive enjoyment from your actions.
- Screaming as a form of communication – Your bird may be telling you it is bored, not feeling well, or frightened. It is often letting you know that something is lacking in its environment. For example, in the video below you can see a Sun Conure screaming. Maybe he is bored.
How Can I Control My Parrot’s Screaming?
There are a number of ways to minimize the amount of screaming by your parrot. If you can figure out why they are screaming it is a major advantage in addressing the problem. According to petcha.com, here are some strategies that may work to help alleviate your parrot screaming problems.
Things to do:
- You need to expect some noise from your bird. No birds are totally quiet with some species substantially louder than others as can be seen in our guide here.
- Ensure your pet is safe, well, and feels secure. Screaming could be an indication of a physical ailment, so observe the bird for any tell-tale signs of illness. You may need to adjust the bird’s environment. Moving its cage to a secure corner of the room or playing some soothing music in its room may make a difference in its desire to scream.
- Give your bird plenty of toys and show them how to use them. It may not come naturally for your parrot to ring a bell or play with toys. You can encourage them and offer a wide variety of toys that you rotate regularly. This will help stave off boredom and reduce their screaming.
- Give your bird additional attention. Perhaps you have been busy and neglected to give your bird as much personal interaction time as you usually do. Your parrot is a social creature and needs its bonding time with you.
- Your bird will appreciate your vocalizations. Talk to your bird frequently when you are in the house. Greet your bird when you first come home. If you are leaving the bird’s room for a short time, develop a phrase that indicates you will be back shortly.
- Attempt to develop a contact call that is acceptable to you. Start calling your bird using a word, phrase or sound depending on its talking ability. If you are lucky enough that it picks up on this call and starts to use it, reward the bird to reinforce the behavior.
Things not to do:
- Never yell at or punish your bird as it will only have a negative impact on their trust level with you and will not stop them from screaming. They will not understand that a “time-out” type response or the covering of their cage is the result of their screaming.
- Do not reward screaming. This sounds easier than it is, but you need to stand firm and not go to the parrot every time it screams. If you do, it will learn that it can summon you at will. You don’t want that.
- Don’t give up. It takes time to change a parrot’s behavior, and you need to be firm in your resolution to make your lives together more pleasant for all.
Exercise Caution When Choosing a Parrot to Own
A first step in the avoidance of a screaming problem is in thoroughly researching the type of pet bird you plan to obtain and being realistic as to the level of noise you can tolerate. Cockatoos and macaws are notoriously loud and should be avoided if noise is a consideration. Other smaller parrots such as Sun Conures and the Indian Ringneck can also produce considerable noise. An example can be see in the video below which shows an upset cockatoo screaming.
If you fail to choose a bird whose noise level is compatible with your lifestyle there is a good chance that you will end up having to give the bird to a rescue. According to the Rhode Island Parrot Rescue, screaming is one of the three main reasons people give up their birds. The other two are biting and exhibiting destructive behavior.
Screaming and Your Parrot
Dealing with occasional screaming is a consequence of sharing your life with a parrot. Their natural propensity for the practice makes it impossible to totally rid them of the habit. Providing an enriching, safe environment and understanding the underlying reason that causes your bird to scream will go a long way toward developing a mutually beneficial relationship with your avian family member.