Screaming is one way birds get attention (positive, negative, it doesn’t matter!) Now, I can’t definitively say whether or not this was the case for Miss Viola Waddlesworth at her former home, however, her friend Sam, the African Grey who went to a neighbor’s house, frequently shouts, “Shut up, Waddles!”
…So yeah, we likely have a few years’ worth of bad habits to break with her.
One major purpose of this blog is to go beyond text and describe/show what bird training *really* looks like. Thus, a five minute vlog post was born.
May I present: What Teaching a Bird Not to Scream Really Looks Like: A Work in Progress
TL;DW/Oh my Gawd, I can’t take the screaming anymore – Skip to 4:05
Teaching a bird not to scream = massive, massive amounts of patience. It looks like a lot of:
- Standing around out of sight of your bird and waiting for silence/a sound you don’t hate before you make your presence known again.
- Making no movements that might indicate you might be coming within sight of your bird while he or she is screaming.
- Responding to a sound you like with a happy call back/movement towards the birds–birds who are alone in a different room will “contact call“, which is natural and can’t really be turned off, so pick a sound you like/don’t hate and reinforce that.
- Turning around/leaving the bird’s sight if they start screaming when you try to enter the room. They’re screaming for attention. Don’t give it to them!
- Your spouse’s unwilling participation in the lack of movement/shouting at bird (shouting just reinforces the bad behavior and makes it continue longer. Spouses: Ignore it with every fiber of your being. Don’t even look at the bird.)
An Aside/Soap Box:
I feel like this video demonstrates why cockatoos (not Vi’s species–Vi is an Amazon) are only for the bravest, most tolerant of people. According to MyToos.com, Moluccan Cockatoos (and Umbrellas get close to this, too!) “Moluccans hold the record as the loudest bird on earth at 135 [decibels of sound]…A 747 Jumbo Jet produces as much as 140 decibels of noise.”
My first-hand experience? Yes, they really are that loud. It is un.be.lievable.
Oh, and P.S.–A lot of the stuff you read at MyToos.com is NOT hyperbole regarding many, many, many Moluccan (and some Umbrella) cockatoos. We lived it. Not true of all cockatoos, but oh man… It was bad.