Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Thomas had yesterday off of work. This was very nice, as we had lunch and then he went back home and I went to work.

When I got home, the first thing he said to me was, "I think Rocky is driving a wedge between us." Apparently, Rocky had not screamed the entire day when Thomas was home with the parrots. In fact, he spent the day playing in the living room and didn't even bother Thomas at all. He could hear him singing, talking, and laughing, and when he'd go and check on him, he was playing with his toys. The instant I walked in the door -- before I had greeted anyone or taken off my shoes -- Rocky started screaming.

Yesterday wasn't as bad as some of the other days have been, but I'm dreading the next time I'm alone with the parrots for a significant amount of time.

I think he wants to take my place. Every time I left the living room yesterday, he ran over to the couch and took over my spot. He didn't even want to be on Thomas. He wanted to be where I usually am!
Beloved Parrot left me a comment on a previous entry that I wanted to address here instead of in the comments.

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.

These are great suggestions. However, if I could have a hidden camera set up (since the only time he reliably stops is when I have a camera pointed at him, trying to capture the screaming on video), I could show you a bird that does, in fact, scream while he is foraging and preening. I still do these things (extra foraging and baths) in the hopes that it's diminishing the screaming somewhat (though I can barely imagine him screaming more than he is now). I'm also exercising him a lot more than usual, in the hopes that tiring him out will reduce his screaming. I've rearranged his cage, taken out any nesty-type toys, and have been rotating and adding new toys like crazy in hopes of keeping him occupied.

Maybe I'll set up a tripod with the camera pointed at his cage and trick him into thinking I'm taping him.

This morning I was watching him eat his pellets while screaming. I don't know how he didn't choke on his food.

The tricky thing about this screaming is that I really don't think it's because he wants something I can give him. I think his hormones are going crazy and all he wants is for me to not be there. He's also become extremely cage aggressive which points to hormones as well. So I'm just hoping this passes soon! I was thinking about boarding him for a week to see if he'd snap out of it, but that's not fair to him or to the place where he'd board if the screaming did not abate.

Anyway, Thomas later reassured me that he was joking about Rocky creating a wedge between us. However, it made me think of all of the birds that are surrendered to the rescue where I volunteer who are given up due to divorce. In our case, we'd be fighting over the birds, at least Max and Beeps. I'd let him take Rocky without a fight and I'm pretty sure he feels the same way about letting me take Daphne, Calypso, Stella, and the lizards. It doesn't really matter since it's not going to happen, despite Rocky's best efforts!


Richard Lyon said...

You've narrowed it down. Its you.

So do something different. While Rocky is screaming, spend more time around him. Sit just outside his cage reading, or doing whatever you normally do. And - take a look at

On occasion, when he screams, look right at him and give him a huge smile. What you are doing now isn't working - so swap it up!

I haven't used those particular ear muffs, but I used Peltor's back when I was learning pistol shooting. The high end (120 dollar or so) peltors reduce pistol shots to a barely hear level, but magnify low noises, letting you hear the click of the trigger from several feet away. I trust these lower level ones will reduce a macaws screams.

Harley has been experimenting with screaming the past few weeks, since I've gotten a lot busier at work and he isn't getting as much attention as he thinks he needs. (That will change, in a bit). He's figuring out it still doesn't faze me.

Richard Lyon said...

If you REALLY want high quality ear muffs that you can wear around screaming birds while carrying on normal conversations..... They work for pistols, so they will work for macaws. Mind, thats a bit of a price to them....

Beloved Parrot said...

You've never seen anything that would signal a physical problem, right?

If you really think it's hormonal, why not give him or make him a nesting spot? He won't be in danger of egg binding since he's a male and he'll be busy hanging out there. You'll know where the nest is so you can avoid it when Thomas isn't home. You might even put some fake eggs in there.

Just a thought. Screaming is tough to deal with.