Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rocky is driving me crazy

Rocky is driving me crazy. He's lucky I'm a nonviolent person. I have threatened to call in a bird hit man on him. I am only half joking.

OK, I am completely joking, as obviously I would never hurt him. Or even pay anyone else to do so. But he certainly has been testing that resolution of late.

He's extremely hormonal right now. His screaming has increased about twenty-fold. We'd had it pretty much licked. He still makes his vomit sound when he wants something. The problem is that he's currently screaming for no reason that we can fix. He wants to be on or near Thomas all of the time. He wants Thomas to hang out in their nest. Maybe he wants to drive me crazy so I'll leave and he can finally realize his dream of having Thomas to himself. I'm not sure he has that much foresight, but if he does, he's a genius.

Unfortunately, his timing for wanting to be velcroed to my husband could not be worse, as Thomas is currently on a very demanding rotation at work which requires him to be at the hospital what seems like all of the time. Rocky goes days without seeing him. I am an unacceptable substitute, so he screams his displeasure. Sometimes he even screams when he's on Thomas.

The one consolation is that if he thinks I've left the house, he won't scream. I've had to be sneaky, as once he realizes I'm still there, the screaming begins again. He also doesn't scream after bedtime, which means the parrots have been going to bed a little earlier than usual. We can all use the respite from the screaming.

He's even bothering the other parrots with his excessive noise. I do not understand how one little macaw can possibly scream so loudly, so often. Doesn't it hurt? I have been to baseball games and returned hoarse after screaming less than he does. He sometimes screams when he's eating. The worst kind of scream is when he makes eye contact with me, and then lets out an extra-loud scream. He actually lifts off of his perch during this scream, it requires so much force. I think he's taunting me.

The past few years when he's been hormonal, he's been very pleasant. He'd basically camp out underneath his cage. We wouldn't really see him for weeks. He was quiet, except for the occasional (pleasant) laugh. I am not sure what's changed this time around.

We can't have the windows open in our house due to the screaming. I can hear him from blocks away and don't want to have the neighbors call the police on us. And I couldn't blame them -- it's a very loud and irritating noise. It's gotten to the point where I dread going home if Thomas isn't going to be there.

At the same time, I feel bad for the guy. He should be in the wild, not in my living room. Intellectually, I know he's not trying to irritate me. But it's hard to think rationally with the onslaught of constant screaming.

In the past six months, I've talked with six people who have given up their severe macaws due to screaming. Rocky spent at least six years locked in a back bedroom, in large part due to his screaming. If you're thinking about getting a severe macaw, the screaming is an important consideration.

Please, let these hormones settle down soon!


Elizabeth said...

Wow, Mary, I'm so sorry. That sounds really hard. Have your neighbors ever asked about the noise? We had really loud birds when I was young, and the neighbors thought we were crazy, but they never complained.

Sometimes I really really want a parrot. I should bookmark this page because I value quiet and the cockatiels can be too loud for me. A macaw would be intolerable.

I hope his hormones improve!

Mary said...


We've talked to our immediate neighbors about the parrots, and some have met them.

They've told me they can't hear him when they're in their houses (not sure if I believe that or if they're just being polite).

Our neighborhood isn't really into calling the police (there are many barking dogs) but I don't really want to take a chance.

I'm just glad he's quiet at night!

I could easily live in an apartment with my greys. Rocky is on a completely different planet, noise-wise :)

Thanks -- I'm expecting another couple of weeks of this. It can't last forever!

Beloved Parrot said...

Do you give Rocky lots of extra foraging things to do during these periods?

Also, wet birds who are preening don't scream.

There was an article in Bird Talk a few years ago that discussed things things that replace screaming -- like a bath or foraging. I'll see if I can dig it up.

PS: Sugar Franklin's blood chemistries all came back NORMAL! She's about 98-99% back to herself again -- I'm so relieved and happy.