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Changing macaw vocalization patterns

Jpz

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Hi, I know this is a very long topic, but I have to start somewhere. I have had Darwin for 20 years. I got him as a young bird from a well known breeder. We have had a lot of experiences and I have worked with two behavioralists off and on. He is not aggressive, has largely recovered from a plucking episode for a couple of years. I would still like to modify some behaviors and figure out what makes him happy.

problem 1 is that he can make a shrill short call that is repeated every few seconds, which can go on for hour(s). I can't figure out what it is he wants-it is not necessarily being with me since he has time with me and when he is calling he does not want to step up. The repetitive calling, which I call metranoming, can be very disruptive, particularly during this time where my partner and I are both on zoom calls often during the day. I feel like although he does play, chew, he does not do so enough, spending much time just sitting.

problem 2 is that his squeak is more of a high pitched squeal, I am sure not common, and may be because he has not been around other macaws most of his time: I would love to replace that call with something else.

I know there will be lots of questions if anyone is interested:

He has large cages, but almost never is actually closed into them but free to roam on cage or playstand
He has an outdoor aviary and outside time
He sleeps 10-12 hours and usually sits with us as it gets dusk until he is ready for bed or earlier than dusk during long days
He has pellets, fruit and vegetables, and one almond morning and evening. Oh and a small portion of cooked grain mixture once a day.
He was never flighted as vets and recommendations were to clip wings-I now think that was a mistake but he has no interest in flying, although he does excercise wings
He knows about 50 words
He is provided toys and puzzles every day, boxes stuffed with paper, tree limbs and wood etc
He gets a lot of experiences, we have a Celltei carrier (which are EXCELLENT) and I take perches so he can be outside with us when we go for picnics etc.

Thanks for reading, sorry it was so long. Will be interested in anyone that can provide some ideas.
 

Macawnutz

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The short shrill call could be a flock call. Does he only do it when you are out of sight?
My female BG has a repetitive shrill for part of the day. While it sounds a bit demanding it's actually a content sound for her.

Both of my Blue & Golds are very high pitched with the majority of their sounds. My male squeals like a pig when playing and my female can do a gym whistle like no other. LOL

Do you have a video of your sweetie while he is doing this? That could be more helpful.
 

macawpower58

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Your macaw sounds like he has a good life. :) Chaos is my GW and he is 21, had him since a baby.

And yes, they make high pitched squeals, especially when playing. I'd have not thought such big birds were so high pitched.

Mine will make loud short sharp calls also at times, but it's usually alarm calls. Strangers, wild birds, next door cat, things like this will elicit these short sharp calls. Sometimes I see nothing. I've always come running though and I think at times he does it just to make me come.

When does your bird usually make these sounds? You mention zoom calls, and that sounds like mine when I'm on the phone. He won't shut up when I'm talking on the phone! I'm not sure if he's joining my conversation, or complaining about it, but usually I have to go behind a closed door to hear.

What is your birds body language when doing this? Is it straight and thinned out? Relaxed and fluffed? Wide-eyed and tense? A video of it would help us at least figure out his mood when doing so.

Chaos also has a 'fun call' that is long, loud and drawn out. I think it's just yelling for fun, and it always gets my other 2 yelling along. He'll do this for several minutes, but it's not a constant behavior.

My macaw also does not fly, but is flighted with full wings. Is your bird still having wings clipped, or does he just choose not to fly? You mention perches on picnics. Please be careful if he's outside free. He can fly and accidents do happen. Even clipped birds can startle and get a draft of wind that can carry them higher than we can reach.

I think at 20 years old, just relaxing and sitting is pretty normal. Playing can be intense, but usually for short bursts of time and not an all day thing. Toys also get demolished, but not with the frequency they did when my baby was younger.
 

Hankmacaw

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I'm sorry, but I must have had three of the quietest macaws in the world. My Hank (deceased) would help the sun come up and go down and it was loud, but not screechy, and would last no longer than 5 min. at a time. Jasper was abnormally quiet and almost never hollared. My new girl was terrified when I got her and would scream when frightened - which was a lot of the time - but has now quieted down and is rarely heard from other tan some talking.

Has she been to the doctor to see if she is in pain from anything?
 

aooratrix

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IMO, he needs more than 2 almonds per day. My 2 "smaller" ara macaws get 5 pine nuts and 4 mixed nuts, in shell, per day.

I suggest you work on training. Engage his mind some more. Also, I'd encourage him to flap while on your arm several times per day and whatever athletic activities he'll do: tire him out. Tired bird, happy people.

If you notice he's not doing the call, reward him. Make a big deal of him playing independently/vocalizing how you prefer. It sounds like he has a great home. If your breeder is available, you might pick their brain, too.
 

Jpz

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I'm sorry, but I must have had three of the quietest macaws in the world. My Hank (deceased) would help the sun come up and go down and it was loud, but not screechy, and would last no longer than 5 min. at a time. Jasper was abnormally quiet and almost never hollared. My new girl was terrified when I got her and would scream when frightened - which was a lot of the time - but has now quieted down and is rarely heard from other tan some talking.

Has she been to the doctor to see if she is in pain from anything?

Thanks! Yes he has been to doctor many many times. He gets routine checkups and i have asked the Drs this for years. So yours are B&G as well?
 

Hankmacaw

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I have always had Grenwinged macaws - I prefer the GWs
 

Jpz

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The short shrill call could be a flock call. Does he only do it when you are out of sight?
My female BG has a repetitive shrill for part of the day. While it sounds a bit demanding it's actually a content sound for her.

Both of my Blue & Golds are very high pitched with the majority of their sounds. My male squeals like a pig when playing and my female can do a gym whistle like no other. LOL

Do you have a video of your sweetie while he is doing this? That could be more helpful.
Thanks! He does it even if I am present. Even if I am trying to pick him up to try playing with him. It does not seem content to me...it seems he wants something. I will try to get a video or find one. Somehow when I try to video he seems to know and stops doing anything :)
 

Jpz

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IMO, he needs more than 2 almonds per day. My 2 "smaller" ara macaws get 5 pine nuts and 4 mixed nuts, in shell, per day.

I suggest you work on training. Engage his mind some more. Also, I'd encourage him to flap while on your arm several times per day and whatever athletic activities he'll do: tire him out. Tired bird, happy people.

If you notice he's not doing the call, reward him. Make a big deal of him playing independently/vocalizing how you prefer. It sounds like he has a great home. If your breeder is available, you might pick their brain, too.
Thanks for the ideas which I agree with totally. I have used some of them like making him exercise but I need to do more. I also have set up ropes to try to get him exercise by walking around but I will try more. The vets and behavorialists wanted me to do even fewer nuts because of the fat content-which started when he was having a plucking problem. His plucking has largely stopped, except that he chews off some of his flight feathers which makes me sad. He has enough to break his fall though.

I also have tried not reacting to the constant call and rewarding him. So far not reacting does not make him stop and I do reward and get excited and look at him and talk with him when he says a word instead or is quiet.....It has been years but we will keep trying....

The breeder is a long way from me and is now doing something else....
 

Jpz

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Your macaw sounds like he has a good life. :) Chaos is my GW and he is 21, had him since a baby.

And yes, they make high pitched squeals, especially when playing. I'd have not thought such big birds were so high pitched.

Mine will make loud short sharp calls also at times, but it's usually alarm calls. Strangers, wild birds, next door cat, things like this will elicit these short sharp calls. Sometimes I see nothing. I've always come running though and I think at times he does it just to make me come.

When does your bird usually make these sounds? You mention zoom calls, and that sounds like mine when I'm on the phone. He won't shut up when I'm talking on the phone! I'm not sure if he's joining my conversation, or complaining about it, but usually I have to go behind a closed door to hear.

What is your birds body language when doing this? Is it straight and thinned out? Relaxed and fluffed? Wide-eyed and tense? A video of it would help us at least figure out his mood when doing so.

Chaos also has a 'fun call' that is long, loud and drawn out. I think it's just yelling for fun, and it always gets my other 2 yelling along. He'll do this for several minutes, but it's not a constant behavior.

My macaw also does not fly, but is flighted with full wings. Is your bird still having wings clipped, or does he just choose not to fly? You mention perches on picnics. Please be careful if he's outside free. He can fly and accidents do happen. Even clipped birds can startle and get a draft of wind that can carry them higher than we can reach.

I think at 20 years old, just relaxing and sitting is pretty normal. Playing can be intense, but usually for short bursts of time and not an all day thing. Toys also get demolished, but not with the frequency they did when my baby was younger.
Thank you for all of these responses......
I have to try to make videos. But when he does this behavior it does not matter if I am near or far . He is not relaxed and fluffed. He looks tense and agitated either wanting to play or fly.

He cannot fly, and shows no interest, because he has chewed off a lot of the inner flight feathers and sometimes the wing tip feathers too. I have always been aware of the danger of flight and taken precautions. At this point he does not show interest in flying and I do not think he can.
 

Jpz

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Hi, I know this is a very long topic, but I have to start somewhere. I have had Darwin for 20 years. I got him as a young bird from a well known breeder. We have had a lot of experiences and I have worked with two behavioralists off and on. He is not aggressive, has largely recovered from a plucking episode for a couple of years. I would still like to modify some behaviors and figure out what makes him happy.

problem 1 is that he can make a shrill short call that is repeated every few seconds, which can go on for hour(s). I can't figure out what it is he wants-it is not necessarily being with me since he has time with me and when he is calling he does not want to step up. The repetitive calling, which I call metranoming, can be very disruptive, particularly during this time where my partner and I are both on zoom calls often during the day. I feel like although he does play, chew, he does not do so enough, spending much time just sitting.

problem 2 is that his squeak is more of a high pitched squeal, I am sure not common, and may be because he has not been around other macaws most of his time: I would love to replace that call with something else.

I know there will be lots of questions if anyone is interested:

He has large cages, but almost never is actually closed into them but free to roam on cage or playstand
He has an outdoor aviary and outside time
He sleeps 10-12 hours and usually sits with us as it gets dusk until he is ready for bed or earlier than dusk during long days
He has pellets, fruit and vegetables, and one almond morning and evening. Oh and a small portion of cooked grain mixture once a day.
He was never flighted as vets and recommendations were to clip wings-I now think that was a mistake but he has no interest in flying, although he does excercise wings
He knows about 50 words
He is provided toys and puzzles every day, boxes stuffed with paper, tree limbs and wood etc
He gets a lot of experiences, we have a Celltei carrier (which are EXCELLENT) and I take perches so he can be outside with us when we go for picnics etc.

Thanks for reading, sorry it was so long. Will be interested in anyone that can provide some ideas.
OK I have been trying really hard to get videos and audios. I finally did it, but have tried to upload as .mov or .zip files. At 15 mB it says too large to upload so I am not sure how to share Darwin's vocalizations.
 

Jpz

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The short shrill call could be a flock call. Does he only do it when you are out of sight?
My female BG has a repetitive shrill for part of the day. While it sounds a bit demanding it's actually a content sound for her.

Both of my Blue & Golds are very high pitched with the majority of their sounds. My male squeals like a pig when playing and my female can do a gym whistle like no other. LOL

Do you have a video of your sweetie while he is doing this? That could be more helpful.
Hi, do you know how I can share video file here?
 

Jpz

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You need to link your videos from another site such as IG, FB, Vimeo etc
ok, now I get it. I have shared a couple here. One with one of the calling behaviors with video and a couple with only audio (as soon as he thinks I am videoing him he stops what he is doing)

 

Jpz

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Your macaw sounds like he has a good life. :) Chaos is my GW and he is 21, had him since a baby.

And yes, they make high pitched squeals, especially when playing. I'd have not thought such big birds were so high pitched.

Mine will make loud short sharp calls also at times, but it's usually alarm calls. Strangers, wild birds, next door cat, things like this will elicit these short sharp calls. Sometimes I see nothing. I've always come running though and I think at times he does it just to make me come.

When does your bird usually make these sounds? You mention zoom calls, and that sounds like mine when I'm on the phone. He won't shut up when I'm talking on the phone! I'm not sure if he's joining my conversation, or complaining about it, but usually I have to go behind a closed door to hear.

What is your birds body language when doing this? Is it straight and thinned out? Relaxed and fluffed? Wide-eyed and tense? A video of it would help us at least figure out his mood when doing so.

Chaos also has a 'fun call' that is long, loud and drawn out. I think it's just yelling for fun, and it always gets my other 2 yelling along. He'll do this for several minutes, but it's not a constant behavior.

My macaw also does not fly, but is flighted with full wings. Is your bird still having wings clipped, or does he just choose not to fly? You mention perches on picnics. Please be careful if he's outside free. He can fly and accidents do happen. Even clipped birds can startle and get a draft of wind that can carry them higher than we can reach.

I think at 20 years old, just relaxing and sitting is pretty normal. Playing can be intense, but usually for short bursts of time and not an all day thing. Toys also get demolished, but not with the frequency they did when my baby was younger.
 

Jpz

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Darwin does have a good life. But he seems like he wants something all the time, that I can't figure out. Here are some clips, some without video because he can tell when I am videoing and stops doing whatever he is doing

A couple of the files are just audio since I couldn't let him see what I was doing

 

macawpower58

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His actions to me say, I want where you are.
Does he climb down to find you?
He may also just be a chatty bird, I see 'I want' in his actions, but not any stress or upset.
Does he make these calls when next to you? or mainly when on his cage?
 

Jpz

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His actions to me say, I want where you are.
Does he climb down to find you?
He may also just be a chatty bird, I see 'I want' in his actions, but not any stress or upset.
Does he make these calls when next to you? or mainly when on his cage?
That is the weird thing! He does it when I am not there or when I am right there. And sometimes I try to pick him up when he is doing it and he doesn't want to step up. I agree, he wants something....
 
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