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Saving the Ultramarine Lorikeet

Behavioural Problems in Re-homed Parrots, part 2

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By Sally Blanchard

Excessive and/or manipulative screaming

To some extent, screaming is a normal behaviour for parrots and people should expect some screaming from their birds. However, problem screaming goes beyond contact calls involving such daily events as the sunrise serenade, time to eat, greetings, and time to head off to the roosting area. There are also the ‘happy to be alive’ screams that should not be discouraged. Most of the time, manipulative screaming is intended to get your attention and it often does, which simply rewards the negative behaviour.

In a survey I did, this was the second reason people don’t keep their parrots. One of the statements that I have heard dozens, if not hundreds of times, is, “I tried ignoring the screaming and that didn’t help.” Simply ignoring vocalisations is rarely effective in stopping problem screaming. With a rescued bird coming to live in a new home, it may not scream much at all until it has been in the new home for a few weeks and then, surprise! The screaming often starts and continues until people become exasperated. With some parrot-family birds, especially Cockatoos, problematic screaming behaviours can become so entrenched that they can be difficult to change.

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