Greenwing macaw screaming for attention to play and communicate.

A Screaming Parrot's Invitation to Play

A Screaming Parrot's Invitation to Play

Marco Polo!

We all know how quiet the playgrounds are around elementary schools. The children walk out quietly, holding hands, whispering about the slide and swings with cautious thoughtful steps ...wait...let's start over.

We all know how quiet public pools are during the summer. Children paddling and floating like water lilies in Springtime ...wait that's not right. 

We all know how quiet a room full of kindergarten children are as they share toys, graciously pass the cookies and milk, and wait in a straight line to go to the bathroom ..hold on.

Children are constantly on the move, always looking for adventure and fun. Children are curious, and focused and have little to no editing going on in their head. Children are borderline nuts!

So why expect anything less from Companion Parrots?

Parrots are in a constant state of assessment. Nature has taught their kind that they must know who's who and where's who all the time, or somebody is going to get eaten. Parrots flock. Parrots are group event creature. Groups need communication to stay in a group. Parrots need assessment and communication constantly.  

How many of us shout across our house to locate a partner, or child? (I know I do!) So why are we expecting our Companion Parrot to be quiet?

You are part of their flock. You must be located and communicated with constantly. Why aren't you answering the flock call?  Flock calling is a game of Marco Polo. Parrots thrive on communication. And parrots who get that feedback are quieter parrots. Because over countless flock calling events, you the flock member, have always answered. So, your parrot trusts you, and your parrot is less anxious because you are a good flock member.

Try this exercise next time your parrot(s) are making a ruckus.

  • Call out their name. Do it again.
  • Listen to their call back. Soon it will be a game of Marco Polo.
  • Lower your voice, call.
  • You'll find they have lowered their volume to match your own.
  • You can change their flock call to a sound, word and volume you prefer by answering their call with what you'd prefer.
  • Try calling first when the house is quiet. Just call out their name. Listen to their call back. Marco Polo is a powerful tool for creating trust.

Everyone needs to feel needed. And everyone needs to feel part of a family. And no one has ever played a game of Marco.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


  • You are correct. Well said. My Grey and I always had a special whistle that I called a location sound. I have heard other Greys sound the same whistle. Since she taught it to me I think it originated with them. I always copied from her,. I just lost her and am very depressed and heartbroken. I cry a lot and my little Amazon imitates me and cries too. Can you send me a Grey strength stretch bracelet to wear again? I still need her.

    Lois. Epstein on

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