Parrot screaming


Good Evening,

I have come across your webpage and I was wondering if you can help me.

I have an Amazon green parrot, he was around 2 years old when I got him and I’ve had him since 2015, for the first year he was good.

I live with my family and when my nephew was born being a newborn he would cry which unfortunately the parrot picked up in the form of screaming for attention.

I have tried to ignore him but it has become really bad. This behaviour has increased to such an extent that I cannot leave the room at all as he continues to screams once i have left. I ensure he has time out the cage for at least 3-5 hours especially on the days I am working from home. He is outside his cage to do as he pleases, he stays quiet and will only scream when he wants food or drink. He hates my family members especially my mum, dad and brother, he doesn’t want them entering the room we are in, unfortunately my family have issued an ultimatum to get rid of him as they have had enough, I am attached to the parrot and don’t want to abandon him, is this something you can help with? I recently went away sent him to boarding they advised he would scream there too, last year when he went to boarding he was fine. I understand birds are loud but this now wearing me down mentally due to the grief I get from my family and trying to ensure to keep him calm. There has been days when my family are not around I will leave the room and when he starts screaming I let him do that but it can go on for a few hours before he calms down.

Hi and welcome to the forum.
Which species of Amazon do you have?
I have 3 a blue front, a yellow nape and a double yellow head.
My male blue front is very loud especially during mating season.
Your going to be needing assistance from our Roz in training your bird to do a sound that gains your immediate attention which isn't a scream - ignoring the unwanted one but replacing with a desired one.
:welcome: to the forum, A!

So sorry the screaming has become such a big problem. It sounds to me that the screaming has been unintentionally reinforced/rewarded. We know it is somehow being reinforced as it continues/gets worse. If you go to him when he is screaming in an effort to calm him down or quieten him, you are actually reinforcing the behaviour. He thinks that if he screams long enough and loud enough you will eventually appear and give him attention.

The best way to deal with screaming is to
1. Categorize the noises you LIKE (talking, whistling, etc.) and DON’T LIKE (screaming, high pitched whistle, etc.)
2. IGNORE the sounds you DON’T LIKE (COMPLETELY BLANK the bird – use ear plugs until the behaviour gets better).
3. And (VERY IMPORTANT!!!) IMMEDIATELY REINFORCE/REWARD the noises you LIKE - in the beginning this means running up to the bird and giving him a treat. This is doubling the reinforcement - running up to the bird gives him attention, PLUS he gets another big reinforcer, a treat! If you are a distance away from the bird when he makes a noise you like, you need to use a bridge - this is a promise that a treat is coming - I advise you to use “YES” as a bridge – not “Good!” as "good" may be in use daily.
4. Identify the antecedents/triggers - this means identify what sets him off/triggers the screaming in the first place. You say walking out of the room triggers the screaming. Is there a way that you could take the bird with you and put him on a playstand filled with toys and foraging activities in the other room whilst you are working?

The whole family needs to work together on this. It is no good if you are working hard on the above and another family member is not cooperating. Another family member making faces at him or telling him to be quiet is actually reinforcing the screaming. Everyone needs ear plugs whilst working to change this behaviour.

You can read more about screaming in this article I wrote:

I'm also wondering if he has bonded to you which is why he drives the rest of the family away/out of the room? This is to do with hormones. Try to encourage parallel activities (he's foraging/playing whilst you are doing something else, or doing some training with him - see below) rather than loving activities (having him on your shoulder for more than a few minutes, stroking him, letting him sit on your knee whilst watching TV, etc).

Let's talk more about training. Training is a fantastic parallel activity - a way of hanging out with the bird in a healthy way. PLUS he is earning reinforcers for good behaviour! The more you can reinforce/reward good behaviour the happier the bird. A great behaviour to start training is targeting. You can teach this inside or outside the cage. The bird learns to touch a target (the end of a chopstick works well) with a body part (usually the beak) for a reinforcer/reward (a favourite treat is ideal!). This exercise builds trust too. Very quickly you can build up to teaching him to walk/fly distances, turn circles, step on a weighing scale or go back into his cage all to get a reward for touching the target. I explain in detail how to teach this here:

Another plus is that you can show off how clever he is to your family and they may change their opinion about him! Eventually they may also be able to get him to target too, but first they would have to work to gradually getting near enough to him to be able to offer him a treat, perhaps through the cage bars at first. If they want to try this, come back and we will discuss this more.

I hope this is a good starter for you. Would love to follow your progress. I am guessing your Amazon's name is Jasper? Beautiful name!
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