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I don't believe in "stopping screaming"

dollfish

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As some of you may know, I have started a Youtube channel to better educate my country's parrot lovers on proper care and training and I have become more and more interested in the process. I am now doing a lot of reading on psychology and parrot behaviour in general. I have also been speaking to some psychologist friends who are very knowledgable on behavioural psychology of organisms. I have also been observing Astro more.

I don't believe it is entirely possible to stop screaming as some articles and trainers suggest. The reason is that it is simply against the animal's natural instincts. You cannot extinguish an instict. Parrots need company and they feel the need to flock call. Denying the response to these calls is denying comfort that they seek in hearing us thus feeling comfortable. It is possible to reinforce nicer vocalisation and to decrease the frequency with proper training and adequate toys and other enrichment though.

Astro has an aviary that is the size of a bedroom. She has several swings, perches, natural branches and ropes and what not. Toys swapped every week. Different textures, foot toys, hanging toys, foraging toys, puzzle toys you name it. She gets fresh vegetables hung in her aviary everyday and gets all kinds of enrichment. She only spends up to 6 hours in any given day in her aviary. She still flock calls for about 45 minutes to an hour or more when she goes in the aviary to have her breakfast in the morning. There is just no stopping that. I never leave immediately after putting her in and I always put the tv on. I have come to the conclusion that it is just the way it is. She doesn't feel comfortable however big of an aviary she is in or however many toys are available and trying to change that is going against nature.

The other thing I suspect is making it even worse is the fact that the house is not a controlled environment at all. She gets randomly reinforced for her screams unintentionally all the time. The phone rings and I answer it, so there's me talking in response to the screams. I have to teach lessons so I go in a lesson and chatter away for an hour, while she screams. Or just friends come over and we talk while she is screaming. In order to be able to fully eliminate the reinforcement, I would have to put Astro in an isolated area where she cannot hear me at all. So I have come to accept this. She doesn't feel at ease on her own. I wonder if it has anything to do with her being only a year and a half old. I don't know the answers yet.
 

macawpower58

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I've given up a long time ago on stopping noise. Now I join my birds if they start a scream fest.
And it seems if one starts, they all jump on board.
I've found if I stand there and yodel right along with them for a time, they seem to happily settle down faster than if I try to ignore it.
Nothing scientific here. Just me having fun.
I have found out that I can not yell as loud as my macaw. I do give my Too and Zon a run for their money though! :roflmao:
I wonder what my neighbors think!
 

dollfish

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I've given up a long time ago on stopping noise. Now I join my birds if they start a scream fest.
And it seems if one starts, they all jump on board.
I've found if I stand there and yodel right along with them for a time, they seem to happily settle down faster than if I try to ignore it.
Nothing scientific here. Just me having fun.
I have found out that I can not yell as loud as my macaw. I do give my Too and Zon a run for their money though! :roflmao:
I wonder what my neighbors think!
I love this approach, seriously. Hearing our voice comforts them. I have tried so many things. Maybe people who can stop streaming live in massive houses where the bird cannot hear them at all and just give up on screaming but is that really what we want?.. I have been pondering getting another bird too but that's a huge gamble. Also, there is no denying that it is against their nature to be alone anyway. I don't know if Astro will ever be a little bit more okay with this. Time and more foraging will tell.
 

JLcribber

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This "screaming" as you call it is a human construct. Ask any parrot what screaming is. They don't have a clue. :lol: "I was just 'communicating' in my native tongue to my friends".
 

dollfish

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This "screaming" as you call it is a human construct. Ask any parrot what screaming is. They don't have a clue. :lol: "I was just 'communicating' in my native tongue to my friends".
Isn't it though... That's what they do, they flock call to their mates in order to know that they have not seperated. I've really come to the conclusion that denying the response is a bit cruel even? Am i approaching this too emotionally? :ashamed1:
 

Dartman

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I used to just tell Nerd I'm here and everything is fine and he'd usually calm down. Lurch got better once he decided we were trustworthy and part of the flock. Dobby is mostly quiet but gets tired and starts kacking just because he is tired but doesn't want to go to bed. Luckily they usually don't keep at it long and some redirection with attention or a favorite thing will get them in a different frame of mind rather than making noise.
But birds love to do the jungle flock call or sing the songs of their people so it's part of the package.
 

Feather

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I admit I never even attempt to ignore my parrots when they scream, instead just respond by talking to/at them as if they're people. :lol: I also have my own distinct "I'm here" whistle I give in echo to their flock calls. If they want to communicate, so do I.
 

dollfish

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I have two types of "flock calls" with Astro. One for I'll be back shortly and another for "see you later". I'm sure she can make the distinction because it is a very important matter for them. I think i need to work harder on getting Astro interested in chewing wood. She loves to shread and will do for days and she loves Caitec puzzles but not chewing wood. She does from time to time but I'd like her to enjoy it more.
 

Kassiani

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I've given up a long time ago on stopping noise. Now I join my birds if they start a scream fest.
And it seems if one starts, they all jump on board.
I've found if I stand there and yodel right along with them for a time, they seem to happily settle down faster than if I try to ignore it.
Nothing scientific here. Just me having fun.
I have found out that I can not yell as loud as my macaw. I do give my Too and Zon a run for their money though! :roflmao:
I wonder what my neighbors think!
There must be video of this some day...for research purposes, of course! :laughing2:
 

macawpower58

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Who is up for it? Let's have two groups of people testing both theories! The first one responding to every call and the second one going the "stopping screaming" way to see the effects of both! :roflmao:
:roflmao: I in no way said I respond to every call!
But, when the normal calls begin to rattle the windows, then yes I stop what I'm doing and give them a call to battle. They never let me down. :D
 

dollfish

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:roflmao: I in no way said I respond to every call!
But, when the normal calls begin to rattle the windows, then yes I stop what I'm doing and give them a call to battle. They never let me down. :D
I must say I do ignore the worst ones but there are only two. One is a proper whistle she picked up from outside and the other one an efortless shriek... I hope you don't live in an apartment!
 

Dartman

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Nerd bird had a proper Maxi Pionus jungle flock call I'm sure he learned in the wild as a baby. It could wake the dead, very effective for penatrating the foliage to find his family.
It went BUUWEEEEEP! I haven't heard it since from any Maxi I've had.
 

finchly

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I don't believe it is entirely possible to stop screaming as some articles and trainers suggest.
I agree with you. Well, there's 'not possible' but there's also 'not necessary.' There are times of day that they scream. There are reasons they scream. Or call, if you will.
I have certain whistles for certain birds, and I have times when I sink deep into my work and ignore them. I know that at 6 a.m. and 7 pm the house is going to be pretty noisy. I know if I have been away for 2 days it will be noisy all day, until they all get their turn with me / attention.
And I have caiques in 2 different rooms - so sometimes they yell back and forth as a game.

I recently saw that a bird "expert" recommends training out another behavior - the habit of a bird to bite or beak a perch (or a hand, or a finger) before stepping onto it. This too is instinct. Why train it away? Why not teach (train) people that the bird will put their beak on the finger before stepping onto it? (sorry if this muddies the thread - it seemed to fit)
 

dollfish

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Nerd bird had a proper Maxi Pionus jungle flock call I'm sure he learned in the wild as a baby. It could wake the dead, very effective for penatrating the foliage to find his family.
It went BUUWEEEEEP! I haven't heard it since from any Maxi I've had.
I LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOVE PIONUS!~!!!! Is maxi a subspecies or something like that?
 

dollfish

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I agree with you. Well, there's 'not possible' but there's also 'not necessary.' There are times of day that they scream. There are reasons they scream. Or call, if you will.
I have certain whistles for certain birds, and I have times when I sink deep into my work and ignore them. I know that at 6 a.m. and 7 pm the house is going to be pretty noisy. I know if I have been away for 2 days it will be noisy all day, until they all get their turn with me / attention.
And I have caiques in 2 different rooms - so sometimes they yell back and forth as a game.

I recently saw that a bird "expert" recommends training out another behavior - the habit of a bird to bite or beak a perch (or a hand, or a finger) before stepping onto it. This too is instinct. Why train it away? Why not teach (train) people that the bird will put their beak on the finger before stepping onto it? (sorry if this muddies the thread - it seemed to fit)
This is also true for me. I do have to ignore my bird if I'm in a lesson of course. And I can see that Astro is quite enjoying the new whistle that she has recently picked up which I absolutely detest hearing but am ok with. Because you can see that she is practicing and is having a blast whistling at the top of her lungs!

You know about the beak thing, I kept offering my finger as a ledge to Astro when she got into weird positions hanging off my kitchen cabinet handles. At first she was grabbing my finger and squeezing really hard but she learned very quickly that my finger there was a positive thing helping out. Now whenever she gets into a weird position like that, she seeks my finger and grabs it ever so gently to lift herself. Approach it right and you can "shape" that instinct to be more to your liking but you gotta work with them in my opinion. Not against.
 

Farfah

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I grew up with birds in the house so I like scream songs lol It makes me feel safe. As far as I know, the only way to stop the screaming is to put them to bed.
 

dollfish

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I grew up with birds in the house so I like scream songs lol It makes me feel safe. As far as I know, the only way to stop the screaming is to put them to bed.
My only concern for screaming is Astro feeling lonely when I leave. Otherwise it is very managable. Astro is quiet %90 percent of the day. The only loud vocalisation she has is the flock call.
 

TikiMyn

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The biggest point for me is why they scream. I do not have large parrots, but my lovebirds can be really noisy. Most of the time it is obvious they are just having fun, practicing sounds and all that, sometimes they call for me(I respond but we live in the same room so I rarely hear this anymore, they might call when I am outside already but by then I cannot hear them), and sometimes they are really upset about something. In that case I try to calm them of course. Then, they can also get really worked up when they are hormonal and scream at a dark corner for hours if I let them, so in that case I try to stop then by distracting them or something.
 
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