You probably know that parrots are very vocal birds. Not only to they learn to mimic their human family members, they also whistle, sing, screech, and often they scream. Screaming can be one of the least desirable noises that your parrot can make and macaw’s are known to be screamers. Screaming is especially worrisome if you live in an apartment or town home because your neighbors are usually even less fond of your parrot’s screaming than you are, especially if your parrot is screaming at night.
There’s usually a reason that your macaw is screaming, typically from boredom or lack of attention. Once you figure out why they’re screaming you can figure out how to curb the behavior before it starts. Limiting noises in your home, providing toys, and interacting with your parrot more could help get them to stop screaming.
In this article we’ll help you figure out why your macaw is screaming and then give you some options for getting your parrot to stop screaming, or at least minimize the amount of time they spend screaming, so both you and your bird can lead more peaceful, happy lives!
Read on for some helpful tips!
How much screaming is a “normal” amount of screaming for a macaw?
It is important to know that while you can lessen the amount of screaming your macaw is doing, you’re likely not going to get them to stop completely. Parrots are extremely vocal animals, so if you want a quiet pet, or live in a situation where a noisy pet might not be allowed or well tolerated then they’re probably not the pet for you. You can expect your macaw to be noisy for a few minutes multiple times during the day because they’re excited, bored, or just feel like making noise. This is completely normal, there are no quiet parrot species.
What are some things that might cause my macaw to scream?
There are many things that might cause your macaw to scream. Before you attempt to stop the screaming you should try to figure out what things are triggering the behavior. Once you have determined why your macaw is screaming you’ll be able to figure out what you can do to lessen the screaming episodes. We’ll go over some common reasons for screaming and give you some tips on how to alleviate them, if possible.
Macaws will often scream when they are bored as a way to attempt to entertain themselves. If you haven’t provided any toys for your parrot to play with in their cage, then try adding a few. Giving them a way to stimulate their brain and have a little fun may just leave them with little time for excess screaming.
If you notice that your macaw screams more when you’re not in the room than they do when you’re spending time with them, then it may be a sign that they’re lonely. At some point they learned that if they’re lonely and they scream, then you’ll come find them, even if it’s just to reprimand them. It’s similar to a child acting out to get their parent’s attention.
Lonely birds might benefit from having their cage moved to an area of the house where they can spend more time in your company. If you typically spend a lot of time in your office or livingroom but your bird’s cage is located in another area of the house, then try providing them with a perch in those areas where you spend the most time. You might find that the screaming lessens.
If your bird is screaming for attention even when you’re in the room, then you could try helping them to unlearn this behavior. As mentioned before, your parrot may be screaming because they know that if they do so then you’ll give them more attention. When your bird screams at you, try standing up and turning your back to them. Your attention is no longer on your parrot. Keep your back to them until they’ve stopped screaming. Once they stop, you can turn around and reward them by petting them, picking them up, or whatever it is you’d normally do to show them affection. They may learn that screaming isn’t the best way to get attention.
In order to keep them happy and reinforce this lesson make sure to give them plenty of attention when they’re not screaming. Macaws are very social birds so one that screams because it’s lonely or to get attention from you might just need a little more social interaction.
They could be trying to locate you
If a wild macaw gets separated from it’s family group it will make noises to let them know where they are and to attempt to get a response back. This helps them to find their way home. If your parrot starts with quieter noises that eventually progress to louder noises and screaming it could just be trying to locate you within your home. The next time you hear your macaw making quiet, repetitive noises try whistling back. This may comfort them because they’ll know you’re still there, and it could keep them from progressing to screaming.
They’re alerting you to danger
Wild macaws often live in large groups and will signal each other by screaming if a potential predator comes into the area. If your macaw gets startled or scared by something they’re likely to scream to alert you to possible danger, just like parrots do in the wild. This is a normal bird behavior and, short of keeping your parrot away from anything it might think is dangerous or scary, you’re not going to be able to get them to stop screaming when they’re scared or startled. Just think of it as your feathered friend trying to protect you from dangerous predators, even if the “predator” is just the vacuum cleaner or the family dog.
They need exercise
Sometimes flapping around, or some time outdoors will help wear your macaw out and lessen screaming. Plan to spend at least an hour a day playing with them and letting them stretch their wings, or let them play outside in a safe enclosure for a few hours. Exercise is good for their mental and physical health.
They aren’t sleeping properly
Lack of sleep can make your macaw feel frazzled. In order to ensure your macaw is getting adequate sleep, make sure that they’re put in a quiet, darkened room to sleep every night. Bright rooms or lots of noise can keep a macaw from sleeping so you want to set them up to get plenty of rest.
They’re in a noisy environment
If you have your TV up loud, have some people over that are being noisy, or have a dog that likes to bark at the mailman then it’s likely that your macaw will scream right along. Again, parrots are very social animals and if you’re being noisy they might want to join in the fun so they can feel included. If your parrot is screaming at loud music, or the TV you can try turning them down a bit to see if that helps. You could try moving your parrot to a perch in another room when you’re trying to watch that action movie you’ve been dying to see, or putting them in a quieter room if you’re planning to have a few friends over, or you can just let them join in the fun!
Something has changed in their environment
Parrots can be very sensitive to changes in their environment. If you’ve added a new baby or pet to the household, or if someone moves out or passes away that may stress them out a bit. Moving houses can also lead to stress because of the new surroundings. If you have a macaw that wasn’t typically a big screamer and you notice a change in their behavior after making a drastic change to their environment they likely just need some time to adjust. Be sure to give them some extra attention or toys to play with while they get used to their new environment.
If you can’t figure out why your macaw is screaming it could be because they aren’t feeling well. If you’ve tried everything else, and your macaw is still screaming just as much as they were when you started trying to get them to stop then it might be time to schedule a vet visit. Your macaw could be trying to let you know there’s something wrong.
No matter what is causing your macaw to scream or what steps you take to help them stop, make sure you’re persistent and patient. It could take a while for your efforts to help, and it will most likely get a little worse before it gets better. Be patient with your macaw, don’t yell at or reprimand them. Loud noises may cause them to scream more, so yelling is actually counterproductive. Just trust that the more effort you put into finding out why your macaw is screaming and then addressing that issue the sooner you’ll have a happier parrot and a slightly quieter home.