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I like to treat the search terms that bring people here as questions.  If you ever have a question, you can also ask it in the comments and I’ll do a post.  Some of the more frequent search terms involve screaming cockatiels.
Look at this face, all innocent.  You wouldn’t guess that he used to scream and scream.

So why do cockatiels scream?  Sometimes they need something.  Audrey is very good about calling when there is a problem.  Unfortunately, the problem can include a bottle being in the wrong place, but as long as there is a legitimate reason, I don’t mind too much.
Both Audrey and Conner call when they’re scared, such as when a seagull flies too close to the window.  Conner also calls when he wants attention and he knows to use the emergency call to get me to come.  But if I see that he’s faking the emergency call and I tell him to stop it, he won’t fake it again.
The cockatiels used to scream all the time because they were unhappy and we did not train each other properly.  There are several ways to stop birds from screaming for no reason:
  • Establish a routine – birds are creatures of habit and they’re very uncomfortable when the routine is broken.  Now, during the weekdays we get up at predictable times and go to bed at predictable times.  The birds come out of their cages right after we get home from work.  We play with them for 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Provide toys – birds are smart.  They need things to keep their attention.  Conner likes wicker, popsicle sticks, and boxes.  In the picture above, he’s next to his favorite toy: a Zyrtec box.  Audrey is surrounded by bottles and boxes.
  • Spend time with them – birds need attention.  The amount of attention varies with the bird.  Cockatiels are fairly self sufficient, especially compared to the larger parrots.  If you have a single bird and cannot give him or her sufficient attention, consider getting the bird another companion.
  • Ignore the screaming – yelling at a bird that is making noise encourages the bird to continue screaming.  Instead, ignore the screaming and wait several minutes after the screaming has stopped to pay attention to the bird.  Consider providing a treat during the quiet time to provide positive reinforcement.  This step is a lot harder with the larger parrots, but it’s essential.  Eventually, the bird will stop screaming.
Good luck!

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