I have identified the reason for screaming ...now what

by Brenda
(Bay area, California)

Tracie, I did what you said and identified the reason for screaming. My hahn's macaw screams non-stop when me and my husband want to talk, usually right after he gets home but really anytime we talk. Obviously she is just wanting to join in but how do I convert the really loud screaming into a more acceptable level. It really is hard to deal with. She does the same thing when I am on the phone. I see why, but not how to deal with it. Please help! brendalovesbirds (at) yahoo.com

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Oct 28, 2008
Hahns Screaming
by: Maggie

I taught my Hahns to whisper. I wanted to take her to school, where I teach; but she would begin loud vocalizations as soon as we walked in. So I would scowl at her when she screamed and then smile and whisper the word: "whisper." After a very short time when I whispered to her, she whispered back to me. I used that technique when I was on the phone, too. She would sit on my shoulder whispering in one ear while I tried to listen to the caller with the other. This would have worked better if her whispering didn't tickle my ear!

We also developed a "language" of clicking. Which she used to tell me everything was okay; and I used with her to let her know I was okay, too. I found Hahns to be very communicative - without using human words at all.

May 16, 2008
Stop the screaming bird
by: Tracie

Think of ways to prevent the situation that encourages the bird to scream. For example, move the cage to where everyone is, spend time with the bird a few minutes every hour, provide foraging activities, have short bird training sessions to help the bird get some rewards for pleasing you.

If at all possible spend time with your bird before hubby comes home. Also, encourage your husband to talk to the bird some before you guys start a conversation. Bring the bird over by you on a play stand or something while you talk and give the bird a treat or toy to occupy him.

You know your bird better than me, so I can't solve it totally for you. Just try to come up with things to avoid the situation. You don't want to reward his screaming by reacting to it, unless it is negative to the bird, like leaving the room.

The phone is a difficult one, because you can't know it is going to ring. You might train the bird to tear up a shreddable toy, for instance, every time it hears the phone rings, then it will engage in that. Just an idea. One lady taught her bird to whisper instead of screaming.

Reinforce all good behaviors. Lavish attention on the bird when it is quiet, playing with toys, eating its healthy treats, and doing behaviors you want to continue.

Consider some bird training techniques. Clicker training has helped many people stop bird screaming behavior. (Sold on this site.) Even teaching the bird to step up or wave can help. Spending time with your bird every day, doing bird training, and then following that up with some healthy treats in their bowl, will often satisfy the bird for quite a while.

Clicker Training for Birds can help bird screaming problems fade away and be replaced with positive behaviors you want to encourage.

Just remember that the bird doesn't understand your frustration, it just wants you to understand his frustration. It will feel your tension and respond with tension. It seems impossible to be loving and kind sometimes when they are screaming, but just close your eyes and think loving thoughts and try your best to help him through it.

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