I get emails from time to time asking about Screaming Pionus. Some say that their Pionus screams a lot to the point that it can drive their owner insane. They don't know what to do or how to get their bird to stop screaming.
It is not real often that people who have Pionus have this problem. I don't have this problem at all. I keep 3 pet Pionus, a Coral Billed, Maximilian, Blue Head and I can say that none of them have any sort of a screaming behavior. My breeders don't scream either but what the breeders do is they have their morning and afternoon secessions of what comes natural to them but I still don't classify it as a screaming problem because they do it only for a short while and then stop.
The screaming that some of you may be experiencing can extend from many reasons as to why they do this Even though the Pionus is fairly easy going and and does not demand a lot of attention, you will find that there are some that are not happy for many reasons. Pionus like many other parrot species may have many things that bother them for some reason. It can be how you have placed them in your home, maybe they don't like something that sits near the cage. Some birds don't like a change in the location of where their cage sits. Certain people can annoy them for no apparent reason, it can be the way you talk to the bird or how you react to when they do scream. Birds actually thrive on your reaction when they scream. It can promote them to scream more because it will bring them attention. Putting the bird in the cage because it's screaming is not punishment to the bird as they have no understanding as to what is really happening. I firmly believe that putting a bird in its cage because you think it was bad, does not do anything for the bird to teach it a lessen to be learned. Parrots don't have reasoning skills, meaning if you behave you can come out of your cage, the bird does not put two and two together and abide by the rules. A bird that bites does not learn a lesson of being thrown in the cage just because he bit you. About the only thing the cage does is, it gives time out or gives a break in between two situations. What is mostly does is let you cool down after all your bird sees it as no harm done! The bird does get a thrill out of seeing you get upset or mad and believe me birds do get excited over you getting upset or screaming and yelling at them. I am one who knows too well that it is very hard to keep your cool when a bird bites the heck out of your finger but if you want to gain anything with them, coming unglued is not a thing to be doing in front of them.
Birds in general will choose you or a family member to be its "mate" or "companion". They can indeed feel inferior when you are socializing with others. Did you notice when you get on the telephone many times your bird may start screaming or vocalizing loudly? Some of my birds sure do. It is done as you are giving your attention elsewhere. I hear some say their bird starts screaming when someone like a friend or whom ever comes to visit. This can happen as your bird does not want you socializing with others, remember you are its mate and they do get jealous.
None of my pet Pionus' scream like I said earlier, but
here is some info about my Blue & Gold Macaw, Kuka and Orange Wing Amazon,
Tater. I have had Kuka ever since she was 2 weeks old and now she is
11 years old. She is very jealous of when I give my time to others.
It was not quite so bad when she was younger but now it is. One of
our recent additions was a 15 month old Scarlet Macaw named Starla.
Kuka is really jealous when I give time to Starla and to the other birds.
Kuka will also just sit there when I am in plain sight of her and yell
Mama. She will also start bellowing out the screams until I go and
pick her up. I don't always go over to her to pick her up just because she
screams. She has learned that she does get more attention when she
screams. Going to your bird every time will reinforce their
screaming pattern more. Kuka has other ways to get my attention as
she will start counting or quacking like a duck and I will respond back to
her and this is fun for her but that is when she is in that particular
mood to do it. If she gets in a screaming mood then I try to get her
to do fun things like her counting her numbers from 1 to 5 or making the
sounds that she likes to do. Usually it helps and she will do that
for a while but sometimes when she wants to be desperately be on me and I
don't pick up on it, then she will scream until I get her on me.
It's something she really desires. Even though I'm her Mama she
still classifies me as her mate or companion. She loves to try to
feed me, this is a mate behavior because she loves me. I know why
Kuka screams, its to get me to pick her up. She will also do it if
something startles her. Overall she's a great bird.
It is almost impossible for me to help someone with the screaming problem of a bird as I can't see your life style or situation of how things are. It can be a real puzzle trying to figure out the reasons behind excessive screaming or yelling. You must take a long hard look at your situation and go back in time before your bird had this problem and see what may have changed or what new things have taken place since the bird started the excessive behavior. Keep in mind that it is normal and natural for a certain amount of screaming or loud vocalization to take place. If you try to suppress it too much that might lead to other problems.
Updated: Oct. 2013
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