Why Does My Bird Scream?

Written by Deb White. Posted in Social Interaction

Why Does my Bird ScreamVocalizations are normal for a parrot and they certainly can be LOUD at times.  What we might think is obnoxious is completely natural and instinctual to our birds and, as such, we must learn to accept "normal" noise.  However, not all noise is "normal".  There is also "learned screaming behavior" that puts a lot of bird owners over the edge and often results in birds being passed from home to home.

This behavior is called "learned" because the parrot has realized that by screaming he can usually get something he wants.  Excessive screaming is often the result of improper socialization and the unintentional reinforcement of the behavior by the owner.

Excessive screaming results when a parrot is:

  • poorly socialized and hasn't learned independence (the ability to self entertain)
  • stressed out or over tired due to a poorly managed environment
  • under exercised
  • lonely
  • frightened by something

If your bird screams non-stop:

  • Do NOT reward your bird by giving attention to the screaming behavior
  • Do NOT yell back at the bird, although tempting, this is a big drama reward and will reinforce the behavior
  • Ignore the behavior and leave the room
  • When the bird quiets down, return to the room and praise the good "quiet" behavior
  • NEVER punish a bird by yelling, hitting or causing any other harm.  Birds don't understand the link between their action and your punishment.  Your will only succeed in destroying the bond of trust.

Some ways you can prevent the development of a screaming problem or distract a bird with a tendency to scream is to:

  • keep your bird busy with destructible toys
  • keep your bird's mind stimulated by providing foraging toys
  • give attention to your bird when it is behaving quietly
  • provide ample social interaction so it isn't lonely
  • provide an interesting and varied diet
  • give your bird plenty of opportunity for exercise.

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