How to Quiet a Noisy Pet Parrot

Treat your parrot with yummy and healthy treats like fruit or veggies when she's quiet.
Treat your parrot with yummy and healthy treats like fruit or veggies when she's quiet. (Image: Mike Watson/moodboard/Getty Images)

While you have to expect some level of noise from your parrot, she shouldn't be driving you and your neighbors crazy with constant screeches and calls. To quiet your feathered friend, make sure she's not ill first; then teach her that when she's quiet, good things happen and that when she's noisy, she doesn't get the attention she's craving. With environmental enrichment, your regular interaction and a little training, your pet parrot should sing a quieter tune in no time.

Treat an Illness or Reduce Stress

If your normally quiet bird is suddenly vocalizing loudly out of nowhere, she may have injured herself or may have an illness. Visit your avian vet to rule out a health issue as the cause of your feathered friend's unusually loud behavior. Observe your parrot when she's vocalizing the most, as she may be frightened by someone in your home or by birds and other wildlife outside a window. Close your blinds to prevent outside creatures from scaring your parrot, and teach all family members in your home not to taunt or otherwise bother your bird. Reducing these stressors should help to quiet Polly.

Positively Reinforce Quiet Behavior

Many parrots vocalize to get attention. If you come running when Polly screams, this negatively reinforces this unwanted behavior. Instead, wait until she's quiet and calm before interacting with her and giving her some of her favorite foods. This will positively reinforce for her that quiet, calm behavior results in nice attention, social interaction and yummy treats. If she starts to scream or call excessively, ignore her until she's quiet for at least a few seconds. Approach her only when she's calm and quiet. Never yell at your avian friend or physically hit her, as this won't teach her anything other than to be frightened of you.

Enrich Polly's Environment

A bored bird will screech out of frustration. Avoid vocalizations due to boredom by providing your parrot with lots of fun toys for her to play with. Reward her when she plays quietly with her toys to positively reinforce this behavior. Allow your parrot to spend time outside of her cage -- at least three to four hours each day with you and your family. The social interaction will keep her happy and prevent boredom. Parrots are social creatures who need to feel like part of a family. Consider getting your parrot a friend to interact with when you're not around so she won't get lonely, but learn how to properly introduce birds first.

Shape Your Parrot's Vocalizations

Most parrots can learn to imitate whistles or other vocalizations. During the day, call to your bird occasionally using a simple phrase or whistle before she begins to vocalize excessively. In the wild, birds call to each other to locate them or simply to say hello, and you can do the same -- but do it only when your bird is quiet or has only vocalized once. She'll likely respond with one vocalization and stop, knowing that you'll call again. Not only that, but she may even eventually use your call as her own, meaning that her unpleasant screeches may turn into pleasant phrases or whistles. Reward her with attention, praise and treats to further reinforce appropriate vocalization.

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