Why do parrots scream a lot?

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Not all “ parrots”  scream.  South American birds including conures and macaw parrots as well as some Australian parrots like moluccan cockatoos can be quite noisy.  Conversely  African parrots from say the poicephalus family  are fairly quiet like senegals, myers and red bellies.

Big birds like moluccan cockatoos can scream quite loudly literally at levels that exceed the noise 747 Jumbo jet landing ( approximately 157 decibels).

Continue reading “Why do parrots scream a lot?”

My bird won’t play with toys or eat new foods are two problems that solve each other

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A clear theme that emerges after reading endless threads on Facebook bird groups is “my bird won’t play with toys” – “my bird doesn’t play with toys” “my bird only wants to chew the keys off my notebook computer”

From wikipedia we learn: Ho·lis·tic – hōˈlistik – adjective – characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Another way of putting it is “we are not connecting the dots” Bird food is connected to bird toys which are connected to bird cages and bird stands and everything has to work together.

There is a large overlap of caged bird keepers who claim the birds will eat nothing new nor with a play with toys – which is the problem and the solution – we need to combine the toys with the food – for starters.

Continue reading “My bird won’t play with toys or eat new foods are two problems that solve each other”

Your 2017 caged bird keepers to-do list

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My bird(s) will get proper lighting using a timer to provide an accurate light cycle

I will get my bird(s) DNA tested so the next time I ask mitchr a question he will know if the behavior may be sexually oriented

I will work with my flighted bird to make him or her a better flyer. If my bird is not flighted I will consider allowing the wings grow out for a more confident bird that screams less. Continue reading “Your 2017 caged bird keepers to-do list”

Clicker training videos for birds – from tricks to flight

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It is opaque to me as to why cage bird keepers refuse to embrace clicker training. We spend hundreds (thousands) of dollars on birds, equipment, toys, accessories and food (thank you very much) but we spend so little time actually “training” these incredibly smart animals.

Much like those taking their dogs for a “drag” in the morning on my way to work – I see no control exerted by the humans.

Isn’t having a pet that responds positively to your behavior requests infinity more enjoyable?

Continue reading “Clicker training videos for birds – from tricks to flight”

Budgies are NOT like cockatiels – perch placement in the cage is very different

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Most cage bird keepers assume a bird is a bird a perch is a perch a cage is a cage. The previous statement is highly inaccurate.

About a decade ago I coined the term “cagescaping” (but no one remebers) Our specialties at Windy City Parrot   are avian nutrition and the implementation of proper caged bird and home habitats based on species.

Find Free & DIY Toys Here

This video is a perfect example of how you have to take into consideration the species of the bird when designing its forever environment.


Silence Your Screaming Parrot with this Quick Tip

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We just wanted to say hi, I’m David Jones and this is my 10 month old “Blue Headed Pionus” we believe to be a male at this time. His name is “The Shriek of Araby”, but the vote is still out…!! He is sweet and naughty at the same time. Any tips on what to do when they shriek?


Thanks David


Blue-headed Pionus Photograph by Noah Elhardt

“The Shriek of Araby”

Hi David,


Yes birds will shriek because birds will be birds. One of the things you can try something is called a “redirection”, have a big pot and a wooden cooking spoon in a place that you get to easily that is out of sight of the bird.


Keep in mind you have to let the bird shriek 10 or 20 minutes a day to let it out of its system but if it’s incessant what you can do is when they begin to shriek, go into the other room and bang the pot – Bam – Bam – Bam.


man with pot on head and wooden spoon in hand


We recommend removing the pot from your head prior to doing this although it might feel better than listening to 3 hours of a shrieking parrot.


The bird will be silenced out of pure curiosity but just for a moment. In that moment you want to come into the room that the bird is in with a high-value treat — sunflower, raisin whatever they like best — and offer it to the bird, speaking a high pitched voice with lots of positive praise for being silent.


Let us know how it works for you


By the way, it’s important not to assume it’s common knowledge that knowing yelling “shut up” at a noisy bird is counterproductive. Visiting friends, family members and in-house sitters easily fall for the trap. Parrots are social animals. Noise is good – everybody is squawking at each other. Thus when you yell “shut up” or “be quiet” at an animal that has not assimilated Merriam-Webster, well let me translate for you in bird speak “Thank you for talking loudly with me, I really miss talking loudly with my flock mates but you’ll do for now – squawk – squawk – squawk – squawk!”


And added comment from Nora: Parrots are all drama kings/queens and shouting is one of the dramatic reactions can they force out of us frustrated humans that they simply love. Don’t give them the drama they crave or you really, as Mitch says above, just reinforce the screaming.




Q. My parrots love eating any kind of fruit or juice, nuts or seeds, but aren’t interested in any other kind of food I think is good for them. How can I change this?


The problem is its not a balanced diet if they’re not getting enough protein. I would advocate introducing a product like LeFeber’s Avi- cakes. They are mistaken as a treat but offer 100% nutrition to your bird because they contain a high percentage of pellets. The pellets are wrapped with seeds and nuts and fruit held together with molasses.


white cockatiel eating large steak bone

Our cockatiel Popcorn doesn’t have that picky eater problem

all meat was cut away so bird gets no human saliva

In addition to the Higgins seed blend that our cockatiel Popcorn feeds on regularly she goes through a package of Avicakes about every two weeks. Because of molting and reproductive activity as well as the stress of changing daylight we use a saltshaker to sprinkle a mixture of avian vitamins and a calcium supplement on top of the Avicakes. The light dusting sticks to them because of the molasses thus providing her with all of the nutrition she needs as confirmed by our avian vet who sees her about every three months.




More info here: Help Me! My Parrot Wont™t Eat Anything Except Seeds or Pellets


recent review received on our Double Java Wood Tree Parrot Play Stand


This is a quality item, NO doubt. It’s gorgeous. However there’s no size (medium, large) given for this item (there is on their others), and now that I received it let me assure you it’s LARGE sized. (small-med-large helps indicate branch width/parrot size.) This double tree would be appropriate for palm cockatoos! My Amazons will not be able to use it, unless I doctor it heavily. I simply wanted two trees instead of one. Should have gone with single tree medium, then at least I’d know what I was getting.



See All Our Java Wood Stands


public service announcement: If we see a one star review with words like “my bird wasn’t interested” it doesn’t get posted – details to follow. Every review gets scrutinized. Reviews are one of the best forms of feedback we receive.


Hi Lisa

we just posted your review (paragraph above) on the double java and completely understand your frustration. I’m simply writing to advocate not to doctor it up too severely as it will be much healthier especially for the birds feet to adapt to the tree rather than trying to adapt the tree for the birds – imho


the two images in this blog post Does the plethora of parrot perches produce puzzlement? Learn perches & placement now! speaks volumes about our birds ability to adapt



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Hi, MitchR – well, wow, thanks so much sending this! Right on time. I’ll be reading it several times, and try and work out some good strategies for their cage, their room in general, AND the stand! I’ve had them for 20-25 years, they’re 25 and 30, and we probably have some ruts to break out of. And I just had a new center dowel of the exact same size replaced in their cage, LOL.


One has a [‘snapped ACL’ for birds], but he can grip well with it. He also has a bum wing from being wild caught as a baby (he’s adopted, saw it in an X-ray). So he’s not the most confident with new things – but he’s a green monkey just the same.


I’m excited to try and change up their world a bit… but a single new rope toy last week sent us flying into walls and screaming, so we’re gonna take it niiice and sloooow. 🙂 cheers! Lisa


Sent from my iPad

got it – thinking out of the box –



so install a flat ladder across some branches to offer more horizontal support?


feel free to reach out we’ve worked with several one winged and one footed birds. oh and try to play with your bird’s toys before offering them to your birds. They always want what you have.


best of luck

written by mitch rezman

approved by catherine tobsing


A parakeet that wants nothing to do with me

Read in 3 minutes
Yellow & green parakeet on small skateboard
Hi WindyCityParrot;
My sister has a green cheek conure and has been sending me your bird self help articles and I thought I would give it a try (if you have time).
We’ve had birds our whole lives, our cockatiel is somewhere around 20years (he was a rescue) and we’ve gone through two parakeets in about 24 years.
My problem, we recently bought the cutest parakeet and have had her for about a year and she wants absolutely nothing to do with any of us. She lets out distress chirps if we even open the cage and she hops to the back.
We can’t get her to eat that much (although we have changed both their diets, the cockatiel is a lot more alert since starting his veggie/fruit pellet diet with healthier poops) and she likes the cockatiel but he’s pretty much antisocial (except for about 30 mins. in the morning when he whistles in the morning).
When he’s out, we usually bring her out and place her on the play gym (she has her own) across from him and she just sits. She DOES NOT like fingers but I can get close to her and give her beak-nose kisses. I’ve brought her up a few times, to study with me, but she just doesn’t want anything to do with me. I have had her with me a few times and she’s preened and taken a nap (so I know she’s not always wary). We also have a window suction cup pearch, and she seems to like that as well.
Is there anything that you can think of that could help. I’d love to be hands on with her but respect her space at the same time. I’m at a loss of what to do and where to start. Sorry for the information packed note.
Thanks for listening.

Dear Nick
Your parakeet may never come around. It is at least a year old and is not progressing as a pet well.
A baby parakeet is best for training as a pet, (they have the stripes that come down low on the face, which go away as they age)
You may do it best by getting it a fellow parakeet in its cage (or a larger one) If a female, I recommend you remove her, rearrange the cage, then put in the boy and then the girl. Otherwise the female will be territorial and could abuse the new male. Another female would be fine too.
Or if you don’t want any more birds. You may consider a plastic parakeet, lonely parakeets really enjoy them.You can find them here. http://goo.gl/iJ4uF
If you wish to continue to try, I suggest you trim its wings (even just once), and it will be forced to depend on you to pick it up, put it on its perch, or cage, or stand and look forward to seeing you. Right now it can fly away if it wants to. That makes for a very hard time at bonding.
If you have any more questions, please let us know.
Thank you

How Can I Get My Bird to Talk?

Read in 5 minutes
I truly think parrot flocks were the first form of social media. They basically don’t like to be alone and because they are social they have to somehow get the message across to the other birds. Across the wide spectrum of birds, local vocalization plays a large part in their everyday life.
Some birds in the wild imprint their chicks voices through the shell so as to differentiate their own and not end up feeding parasitic chicks left by birds like cuckoos and cowbirds, Bird calls are regularly used to influence these fluid winged societies. And make no mistake about it, your birds have the ability to communicate with you, they are not just little tape recorders (I’m old).

It’s generally thought that whales, porpoises, bats, humans and of course parrots are the only animals to have vocal communications at a complex level. When you and I speak, we use our face, our lips and our mouth to help round out sounds that are produced by our vocal cords.

Where we have a pharynx, parrots have something called a syrinx. Think kazoo – it, (the syrnix) connects where the lungs and windpipe come together. Their tongue plays a very small role in speech.

Parrots have a hard time telling the difference between “a” and “i” sounds and their brains work differently than ours too. Parrots are unique from other species of birds in that they have greater control over the “form” of their voice. Where wild species of bird calls come from nature’s engineering, parrot’s sounds rely more on many of the sounds of their environment.

Teach Your Bird to Talk with Mimic Me Voice-Recorder by Prevue Pet
In the wild strong mating and group relationships are regularly solidified vocally. This is where it becomes clear on why your bird really wants to mimic you. It’s his or her way to bond with you (the mate) and the flock (family members or other people in the household)
So what are the predictability factors you should seek when setting out to teach your bird how to talk? There are none. In the wild, flock members have the same sort of diversity as people in a small town with unique interests and abilities. The one exception seems to be the Congo African Grey. And nobody knows why, but they seem to have a much higher-level ability than other parrots. (Functioning at this intellectual level also makes Greys needy for lack of a better term).

Amazons come in a very close second, smaller parrots like budgies andCockatiels also can learn to talk (watch the amazing video below). Growing up I had a next-door neighbor, Mrs. Massey with a parakeet that spoke words in four languages. Macaws and cockatoos can talk but their vocabulary tends to be more limited than the Greys and Amazons.

And there’s really no rhyme or reason as to will “any bird talk”? Even though your bird doesn’t repeat a word it doesn’t mean it doesn’t understand its meaning which by the way are two completely different thought processes for birds.

I think even though we bring home a bird with the hope that they will learn to talk over time, we eventually accept them for their overall personalities not just their ability or lack thereof, to vocalize, To encourage vocalization your overall relationship with your bird has to be strong and trusting with your bird being relaxed when he’s around you.

Remember when you first bring a bird home they don’t know who you are and they may assume you are a predator not a new flock mate. A full day of full spectrum natural or artificial sunlight in a full night of sleep a regular basis is very helpful.

Your bird can see many times better than you & I and it allows them to analyze multiple things at the same time in the field of vision and they can also sense more subtle motions. So when you start training and using the Mimic Me make sure there’s no other distractions like TVs and cell phones. 

Much like I learned in sales for many years, “how” you say it is as important, if not more so important to birds than “what” you say. Your bird should sense that he or she has your undivided attention when training them to speak. When using the Mimic Me there should be no other background noise.

Start with small words to three syllable words or phrases. Make sure you speak slowly but enthusiastically. As for the time spent, a few minutes in the morning and the early evening because birds tend to be a little more receptive at these times.

Be consistent with your words and your actions.say “Scratch your head” when scratching their head. ? “Do you want to come out”? when opening the cage door. And try naming their toys so they can relate words to the toys. The more they associate words actions, the better chance you’ll have a vocalization.

Be patient and don’t get frustrated. Stick to the plan because sometimes a bird will suddenly repeat a word that you’re working on today, two or three days from now. Reward successful mimicking immediately to reinforce vocalization. Much like clicker training, reward treats should be a single shelled nut (so as to not take too much time de-hulling it) or dry piece of fruit so the treat can be consumed rapidly and you can move on to the next lesson.

Lastly remember nothing mechanical can fully replace the physical interaction you have with your bird.

Squawk at you next week 

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Mitch Rezman CMO
Windy City Parrot, Inc
Simply Everything for Exotic Birds – Since 1993

Birds That Work for Money

Read in 7 minutes

The Police featuring Sting, one of my favorite artists (and groups) were singing a great little ditty the other day on satellite radio and it got me thinking. The name of the song was Canary In A Coal Mine. The theme of the song was “you live your life like a canary in a coal mine. We’ve all had friends like that, but I digress.

For the unindoctrinated or too young to know about this, years ago caged canaries were brought down into coal mine shafts. They acted as the first warning sign that oxygen was being depleted and replaced with dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide. Their method of warning the coal miners – was to die. Better a canary than a miner, and so it went. The next time you see a lovely little canary singing his heart out you’ll remember what it’s ancestors withstood.

Continue reading “Birds That Work for Money”