How To Turn Down the Volume of a Loud Parrot
Once upon a time Butters, our B&G Macaw, was a quiet little girl. Her communication and vocalizations, no matter the message, were not loud at all. Even when frustrated or afraid she didn't scream. But she spent her days with a very quiet mom in a very quiet house with other quiet birds. Then Snickers came home. And fledged. And became a very vocal boy. We knew a male Scarlet Macaw wasn't going to be timid or quiet. After 18 months of tutelage under Snickers, Butters is a bona fide drama queen. So skilled she will scream if you walk by without saying hello to her. She loves a good scream fest. Which is just fine. We knew what we were getting into with two macaws.
Retooling a Parrot's Call
Retooling their volume and tone requires a game of Marco Polo.
- Answer that first shout. Let them know you're listening.
- When they call back again, answer with the volume and word you'd prefer they use. Wait for them to answer. They will.
- Call back again, in your preferred new "flock call". (We're programming a parrot now).
- Continue this back and forth until they mimic your new flock call. Every bird is different, but they will change to accommodate. Because you are answering them. The key to this is, you are calling back.
- No matter the reasons for the incorrect too loud call, always answer in the preferred flock call. Always answer. Failing to have that conversation causes stress to a parrot. Flock members always answer.
With two loud raucous personality in the house, I retooled their screaming to play time only. By redefining all other flock calling to whispers. When Butters and Snickers are chasing each other screaming at 2:30, I join in with an intervening game of Marco Polo. But I whisper.
The whisper flock call requires you get personal, and dramatic.
- Say their name in an exaggerated whisper. Be dramatic. Parrots love to hear their name, and they love drama.
- Let them answer.
- Whisper their name dramatically. Get close and emote those big eyes of excitement.
- Let them answer. They will mimic you because what you are doing looks more fun what they are doing.
Personalized drama coupled with the fun factor yields fast results. Treats and food are a distraction. They are not a call. You fix a call with a correct call. That's all.
Every parrot is loud at times. It can get very loud if other companions get involved. The dogs have learned to join in with howls now. In the end we have learned to join in for an all-out shout fest at about 7 pm every night. Every bird and both dogs unload that last bit of energy and joy before the roosting begins. This is a celebration that the whole family is together before the sun sets. A natural need and instinct have been met.
Parrots are loud, and they are loud for good reasons.
- A shouting youngster is strengthening his respiratory system.
- Juveniles are exercising their youthful joy and right to opinions.
- Adults are communicating their frustrations or joys.
- Loud is a normal form of parrot communication.
- Quiet is also a normal form of parrot communication.
- Remember loud comes with the package. And don't let the size of the bird fool you.