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  1. #1
    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Has anyone here worked with blue and golds regularly? Have one?

    What is their noise level/vocalization pattern like? Are they screams (like cockatoos)? How do they compare with sun conures? (I already have one, so we're already "in trouble" for whatever level of noise he makes...lol.)

    This is more a curiosity question, but it has a practical thrust. I just became aware of a rescue situation through one of the listservs I'm on (the bird is fine, but the distraught owner must give him up). I emailed back, more in support than anything else--i.e. "if there is something we can do, let us know." The man is in the region, so I figure it can't hurt for him to have contact names.

    Unfortunately, I doubt that we could offer what is probably needed (a permanent home for the bird). We rent. It's a townhome, so no upstairs or downstairs neighbors, but there are next door neighbors. Given that, I assume that any macaw is simply too noisy. At the same time, I'd be interested to hear that those "in the know" say. I've held 'em, but never lived with 'em!

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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    in my post about the scarlet macaw, Tielguy told me this:

    "More than the weight of the parrot, I would worry about the noise level. I'm sorry but I can't remember what your experience level is with macaws. But if you've ever heard a macaw flock call you'll know that it is ungodly loud. Easily 125+ db in an average sized living room. Consider that a Metalica concert would clock in at around 108 db, and a jet plane taking off would be 150, you get the idea."

    So I'm guessing they're really loud, moreso than a conure, but I've never had one of those so I'm not sure


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  3. #3
    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Yes, I'm pretty certain that the actual alarm call of a macaw is louder. I have heard that...only three times, but I have heard it...and it is loud.

    What I do wonder is how often such a call is sounded...For example, my sun conure lets out a piercing call---I am sure they punch through the walls, as they're high pitch and they carry--but it's only a few times a day, or when he is calling us, such as when we first get home. 95 percent of the time, he occupies himself with much quieter sounds. So I suppose the crucial question is whether the death scream is let loose very occasionally or frequently. There's a huge difference between three warning calls in quick succession, twice a day, plus a greeting or two, and regular screaming sessions. All can annoy someone; but one can get you evicted and the other can't. People might hate the sound, but it it is in the daylight or early evening and infrequent, it can't be chaulked up to worse than a dog barking or a loud child throwing a fit.

    That said, I suspect, but do not KNOW, that most macaws are simply too loud. If so, I obviously don't want to torture neighbors or get evicted. We'd never get rid of a pet...we'd move first...but we'd also rather not get evicted. :-)

  4. #4
    Banned Tailfeather Squawk and Howl's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by notredamebird
    Has anyone here worked with blue and golds regularly? Have one?
    yup. quite a few. very sweet birds!

    Quote Originally Posted by notredamebird
    What is their noise level/vocalization pattern like? Are they screams (like cockatoos)? How do they compare with sun conures? (I already have one, so we're already "in trouble" for whatever level of noise he makes...lol.)
    i think that conures are more frequent vocalizers, but when macaws do belt it out, they can be louder. in particular when they scream, not just yell. a noisy conure could make a macaw generally noisier, but maybe not.

    Quote Originally Posted by notredamebird
    Unfortunately, I doubt that we could offer what is probably needed (a permanent home for the bird). We rent. It's a townhome, so no upstairs or downstairs neighbors, but there are next door neighbors. Given that, I assume that any macaw is simply too noisy. At the same time, I'd be interested to hear that those "in the know" say. I've held 'em, but never lived with 'em!
    not necessarily. i live in an urban area where even single family homes are close to one another. many of my macaw clients do just fine, even when the bird screams. are you on good terms with the neighbords? cuz that makes all the diff in the world! and if you have a consistent bedtime (no bird noises past 10 PM, say- neighbors are usually OK with daytime squawking.

  5. #5
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Wow, considering fostering a blue and gold? that would be an experience to remember. Maybe you could try spending a little time with the bird to get an idea...
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  6. #6
    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by Luna1285
    Wow, considering fostering a blue and gold? that would be an experience to remember. Maybe you could try spending a little time with the bird to get an idea...
    Well, vaguely considering. Its hard to know. I know of the situation through a third party. This means that I don't yet know any of the specifics. I think the owner is probably still deciding what to do, and I have no idea what his priorities or choices would be, if indeed he does place his bird. All I know is: (1) the owner needs a temporary or permanent home for the bird, (2) his an older, very nice fellow, and the bird is bonded to him ("crazy for him", as the third party says), (3) the bird 6 years old. The owner is very upset about possibly giving the bird up and if he does, it must go to a good home. Being a bleeding heart, I of course wrote and said I'd do what I could. The third party really appreciates that and I think I am on the possiblities list if the bird indeed needs a home.

    Will anything come of it? I simply don't know. It's just gotten me thinking and researching, in case I suddenly get an email about taking the bird. Depends on the owner; on us; on the bird!

    Quote Originally Posted by Squeak and Howl
    not necessarily. i live in an urban area where even single family homes are close to one another. many of my macaw clients do just fine, even when the bird screams. are you on good terms with the neighbords? cuz that makes all the diff in the world! and if you have a consistent bedtime (no bird noises past 10 PM, say- neighbors are usually OK with daytime squawking.
    That's fascinating to hear. If people are living in close quarters with these birds, then maybe it is something we could consider. I just don't want to be unfair to neighbors or cause too much difficulty to ourselves. Do you get the sense that neighbors are hearing occasional screams? Do you think they hear them "loud and clear" next door?

    ..We don't yet know if we're on good terms with the neighbors, because we are moving into the townhome in question this August. We could have parties and invites folks over in order to jolly them up! The only thing I do know is that the complex is populated largely by graduate students--a good crowd, usually, though a few folks might really like it quiet. Ph.D. students can be anal. (Trust me, I am one! ) It has a lot of small kids (huge playground on premisis) and allows dogs, so I assume that there is some tolerated noise level.

  7. #7
    Baby Lynn99's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Right now Charlie is going through a molt/ sexual maturity ( at least thats what I think ) so he is ummm kind of like Dr. Jeckle& Mr. Hyde. He is really grumpy right now and yes he does scream a little more than usual right now. But usually he only does it a few times a day. He usually does it in the morning when everyone first wakes up and start moving around the house, he does it if the tiels start getting loud ( I have 12 tiels, so I don't think it would be as bad if you only have a couple other birds ), he does it sometimes in the afternoon if he gets excited while he is playing, and he does it if you forget to turn off the light when its his bedtime. Actually that does sound like alot of times huh LOL. None of my neighbors seem to mind. The neighbors across the street from me have a macaw and a few doors down from them they have a few birds that you can hear chattering away in there too. It all really depends on the bird though. As for how loud they are.... the first time I heard him scream it sent chills down my spine and scared the heck out of me lol. But now I don't really mind it. It can get annoying sometimes though.... but you kind of get used to it.

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    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    When he screams, how long is it for?

    I forget...is he a Blue and Gold? Or was it scarlet or greenwing?

    It amazing that you have so many birds on your block! I wanna live on your street!

  9. #9
    Baby Lynn99's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    When he screams its only for a couple seconds. Sometimes he will scream twice ( or 3 times ) in a row but thats usaully in the morning and at night when he wants the lights turned off(I swear he is so silly, he doesn't like to go back in his cage but if you forget to turn the lights off he gets mad lol). Now sometimes he has a fit where he screams for a couple minutes.... like when I'm cooking and he wants to come out of his cage and see what I'm doing. But if you just talk to him from the other room he calms down. He doesn't do that all the time though. Its really not that bad ( well for me at least it might drive some people crazy lol)
    Right now he is screaming a little more than usual .... I'm going to make a different post about that later today though.
    He is a Blue and Gold macaw .

  10. #10
    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Actually that doesn't sound too bad. 2-3 times a day, for a few seconds, and sometimes for 2-3 minutes when he's feeling particularly intense is way less than I would have expected...

    What does he do the rest of thet time? Talking, quieter noises, playing, etc?

  11. #11
    Teenager tielguy's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    My friend Judy who breeds quakers also breeds macaws and has a few as pets. Her pet macaws who live in the house vocalize a few times a day, and generally whenever the phone rings. Every bird will be different. In the aviary there's probably close to 60 birds in there, and when one gets going they all start so it is pretty much constant noise in there.

    Macaws aren't like tiels or quakers who produce a fairly constant level of noise. When macaws let it rip they really let it rip. But for the better part of the day they aren't overly loud (at least that's what I've observed in my limited experience with them). However their flock calls are so loud that even if they make them only 5 minutes at a time 3 times a day it is probably enough to annoy neighbours. Depending on the layout and construction of your town house I'd say that your neighbours would probably almost certainly hear the bird, how clearly would be the question. It would greatly depend on whether or not the adjoining walls are concrete or just drywall.
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  12. #12
    Baby Lynn99's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    He plays on his playstand, on top of his cage ( loves to play peekaboo), or in his cage. His favorite place is on me though. I am working on getting him more independent. He doesn't like it if I leave the room. He talks alot when he is on his playstand. He says: Hello, uuuurrrr a gooood biiird LOL, pretty birdy, pretty coo coo bird, awwww, want out, look? ( like if he wants to see what you are doing or what ya have to eat ), look out, good stuff ( sounds weird though ), Just said Hi yesterday for the first time , uh oh, PEEKboo, he laughs and thats all I can think of right now LOL. He doesn't really make any other sounds beside the screaming, he does an eeeeek sound when he is excited though. And his favorite thing to do is bully the cats . He throws stuff at them.

    Yeah he only screams a few times a day most of the time ,but he does have his bad days too where he acts like a little kid throwing a hissy fit. Right now he has been screaming a little more than usaul but I think thats because he is hormonal and he is having a bad molt.

  13. #13
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Hello. I see that this post originated years ago, but I wanted to add my two cents for people who are finding this site via Google searches, like I did. Maybe some of you have some advice for me, as well. Any would be appreciated.

    We are new owners of a Macaw named Maxwell. We live in a townhouse and are very worried about the noise Maxwell makes and how it affects our neighbors! We knew these birds could be loud, but we had no comprehension that this is what we were getting ourselves into. We wouldn't have made the commitment had we understood the level of noise these creatures can make. We understood that Macaws require a lot of time and attention. The seed/poop mess was expected. Noise was expected. But This much noise is overwhelming. Being ashamed around our neighbors (of the noise problems our household now cause) adds to the emotional burden of having a loud housemate.

    Maxwell is well behaved most of the time. He is VERY quiet from dark until about an hour after dawn. He chatters quite a bit throughout the day... most of it at a level that's fine, or sometimes a little bit loud. But periodically, Good Gosh(!), his screeches/screams/squawks are beyond what I can describe. If you haven't experienced it first-hand, you simply cannot understand by reading this thread just How Loud one bird can be. The loud scream-squawks occur in sets of 1 to 20 squawks. I've only heard the 20 squawk version once, when he was protesting being moved. Usually he'll voice 1 to 5 squawks per set. Sometimes Maxwell is quiet all day. But sometimes he has 10 screaming sets in one day. Our worst day started with a vacuuming session in his room (he didn't like the sound of that particular vacuum, i think, and let us know it). Other screams throughout the day were to let us know that he was bored, had lost his favorite toy, wanted to be included in a conversation, and to alert us that a bolt was missing from his cage (he'd taken it off). Yes, he's very active, but we had expected that. We just hadn't expected so many comments from him about it.

    I think most of the squawks are just natural communication. He can't figure out why we get nervous when he's making normal statements any dumb bird would understand. We do notice that he is very sensitive to our moods. If we're upset or worried by his squawks, he becomes more agitated and/or loud.

    We've only had Maxwell for a couple of weeks, and think we'll be able to train him (and be trained by him) to a point we'll have a good life together. We are talking about sound-baffling options, and we may have to move entirely. My advice at this point is: If you've never had a Macaw, go house-sit for someone who is a Macaw owner for a month before you get one. If you live in an apartment, condos, town homes, or even a close-set housing area, your neighbors will be VERY aware that you have a loud, highly vocal bird living with you. As other posters have commented, it depends on how laid-back your neighbors are as to whether you'll receive noise complaints from management or the city. You are also taking a gamble on your bird's temperament... we're lucky that the Macaw we adopted is well behaved. I cannot imagine the heartache of having adopted a parrot with a serious screaming issue.

    Have you ever read Black Beauty? These birds live for years, and I strongly believe each one deserves a good, solid, stable, loving, long-term home. Please... get to know your Macaw before you adopt, rather than being just one among a sting of homes he's shuffled through.

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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Sarah, yes they are indeed too loud for most close-to-neighbor areas. Actually, that was featured on ABC family's show "Melissa & Joey" in the last episode! Their neighbor had a Macaw (red) and it was so loud it caused a conflict between them and their neighbor. But it's just what they are and yes you can train them, but you can't eliminate the loud squawks entirely. A good thing to do is introduce your bird to all your neighbors and explain to them sometimes he'll scream, but you are training him and it never lasts too long and won't be going on late at night.

    For sound muffling - you can hang quilts, or get some sort of padding for the walls which will muffle the sound. Shutters or thick curtains on the windows can help too. Basically anything that will add thickness to your walls and interfere with the bouncing of sound.

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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Marrie, thanks so much for the reply!

    I'll definitely look into wall hangings. Maxwell is such a delight. I appreciate your feedback & advice!

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    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Funny to see a post of mine resurface from years ago.

    In case anyone wonders, I did not adopt a blue and gold macaw. I came to the conclusion that they are a bit much for me to handle, especially the noise level they produce. What I do have are four cockatiels and an african gray, whose vocalizations are not bad, and a sun conure. My sun definitely vocalizes loud enough to be heard by neighbors so he has presented a challenge. My african gray also imitates him, so when they gray is pretending to be a conure, this can also be a problem.

    We have managed, however, in one apartment and two townhomes. I don't know if it will help in your case, but as a previous poster mentioned, we have found a lot of benefit in wall hangings -- or anything that moves the bird into a location that can deaden sound during the day when you are gone. That assumes that this space is OK for the bird, of course. This doesn't help a lot, but it can help.

    I have also had a lot of luck with putting the birds onto a schedule in which (1) they get a lot of time out and (2) they know what to expect. I get up early in the morning before work and immediately go to the birds and let one out. After a little while, I switch birds. I go through a little ritual where all their food dishes and water appear and they get a toy loaded with treats. Then I disappear for the day. Even on days I am home, I disappear from morning to late afternoon. I ignore any vocalizations completely, and I cage them somewhere where they cannot see me. Later, every day, I come down and let the birds out. (Again, the big two get turns with me for one-on-one time, which altogether lasts all evening.) Then its bedtime and lights out.

    With the above schedule, the birds generally stay quiet and know that I'm going to be gone. They do compete with one another for my attention during their playtime, which is noisy. And if I break the contract, by not showing up when I am supposed to... or when they notice that I am home ... they will get roudy. But for the most part they're super active for a while in the morning and in the evening, and are lower key the rest of the time. So far, I have not received a noise complaint from anyone.
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    Your friendly admin! Tailfeather Community Administrator Dan's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    My noise issue hasn't really been when we are gone - they know we are gone and they are ok with that...it is more the grey having screaming issues when we are home! Yikes!
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    Brand New Egg ashleyrbb's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    My grey used to have awful screaming issues. It was actually so bad that my parents had to get rid of her, so I begged and begged and she got to live with me. She would scream anytime her favourite person left the room, and continue until they came back. It was so awful that she got a ton of positive reinforcement (not from me) just to make her stop. When I started living alone with her I could ignore awful screams, and paid careful attention to go back into into the room or pay attention to her when she stopped screaming or said something nice. It didn't take very long to stop her screaming, and i have barely heard it since.
    Then I lived in an apartment where the fire alarm went off all the time. I tried the strategy of ignoring her for a month or two but that didn't work at all. It was such an awful fire alarm too! She just loved to make the sound. Eventually decided to give in and tell her "no" each time she made the sound. After a little while telling her no each time, I went back to the ignoring strategy. Fiiiinally it worked - I guess she just didn't understand that I don't love that sound as much as she does.
    Now my incredibly obnoxious loud screaming bird is really quiet! She will make some beeping noises if I leave the room, but never anything really loud and ear piercing. And she says "I want some" if she wants anything - much better than screaming at me!
    So my training tip is to make sure you are clear about your expectations, and then ignore bad behaviour. Ignoring is definitely the best way to eliminate the behaviour, but they need to know that it is unwanted first.

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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I'm learning as fast as I can!

    It's interesting that birds are so tuned in to us. I've been trying the "ignore the squawk" technique. I think it's working. Slowly. Kinda like your situation, Ashley: some family members get nervous and try to give Maxwell treats to calm him down when he's being noisy. I guess it's tough for humans to understand that positive reinforcement of a bad behavior can amplify the bad behavior, so I'm spending as much time learning about birds and training my family as I am in training Maxwell. I think we're all coming around to the same page, though.

    Maxwell was nine when we got him. We know he can talk, although he doesn't talk around us, yet. Sometimes he talks in front of us to visitors! We had a visitor who he was talking to. He squawked a bit too loudly, and the visitor gently said, "no." Maxwell hung his head and said, "bad bird!" We were surprised that he even knew that phrase. I'm just amazed at our new housemate... I think his IQ is higher than mine.

    Thanks, Dan and NotreDame, for reminding me that a lot of noise issues are to get our attention when we're home. I appreciate everyone's reassurance and info. I'm blessed to have adopted a well behaved Macaw, but I'm very thankful to you all for helping me to understand how to best work with my neighbors, my soundproofing, my family, and our newest family member.

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    Brand New Egg ashleyrbb's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    That is adorable! It's funny what they will say to other people. My bird says things to the breeder that I say to her all the time, but have never heard her say.
    It's excellent that you have trainable (cooperative) family members too. That always seems to be the biggest problem. Sheena used to love the emphatic scoldings she got, often stopping her screaming to say NOOO, Sheena no, and Sheeno! The latter has turned into her name when she does anything bad.

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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    We've really tried the ignore technique but so far no luck.
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    I had a friend many years ago that used to play guitar and when I say loud I mean LOUD. Loud enough to easily overpower any macaw or group of macaws by far. He had a gray egg crate shaped soundproofing foam he had got from a local guitar store, he lined the walls, door and window with it. It was not cheap, but you could barely hear it outside his house and his girlfriend could watch tv at normal volume in the next room and the guitar sounded like little more than background music on the tv. I imagine it would be toxic if eaten so that would also have to be taken into account as well as any radiating fumes(if any). 1/4 inch sheet rock could be screwed over the insulation to keep the bird from it. Just a thought.

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    Brand New Egg ashleyrbb's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post
    We've really tried the ignore technique but so far no luck.
    If your bird knows what "no" means (I think most do, its a word we use a lot) try saying that on the first or second scream and then go back to ignoring. My bird makes lots of little noises that are cute but get ignored just because i cant possibly pay attention to her all the time. Your bird probably doesn't know that you hate the screaming, and she obviously thinks its a perfectly acceptable thing to do. After a few weeks or so go back to ignoring completely.

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    Moderator Tailfeather Community Moderator notredamebird's Avatar
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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanM View Post
    I had a friend many years ago that used to play guitar and when I say loud I mean LOUD. Loud enough to easily overpower any macaw or group of macaws by far. He had a gray egg crate shaped soundproofing foam he had got from a local guitar store, he lined the walls, door and window with it. It was not cheap, but you could barely hear it outside his house and his girlfriend could watch tv at normal volume in the next room and the guitar sounded like little more than background music on the tv. I imagine it would be toxic if eaten so that would also have to be taken into account as well as any radiating fumes(if any). 1/4 inch sheet rock could be screwed over the insulation to keep the bird from it. Just a thought.
    I looked into something like this, and I was also happy to learn that there are materials made specially for creating a room that deadens sound, in order to practice music, create a home theater, etc. It's an investment to buy the material, and you'd probably need to own a home to before doing anything that would significantly modify the ceiling or walls. But it seems like it can be done, and that a few companies make the products.

    We haven't needed to do this, but I take comfort in knowing that I could if necessary.
    Atrus---Wesley---Tolkien
    Catherine---Lúthien---Elwing---Tipti

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    Re: How loud are Blue and Gold macaws?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashleyrbb View Post
    If your bird knows what "no" means (I think most do, its a word we use a lot) try saying that on the first or second scream and then go back to ignoring. My bird makes lots of little noises that are cute but get ignored just because i cant possibly pay attention to her all the time. Your bird probably doesn't know that you hate the screaming, and she obviously thinks its a perfectly acceptable thing to do. After a few weeks or so go back to ignoring completely.
    A note on screaming and human responses. Be prepared for the fact that the whole chain of interaction may be repeated with some happiness by the bird, to your amusement and occasional vexation. Some of Tolkien's favorite mimic sequences are:

    *Bark, Bark* Tipti, quiet! [Tipti is our dog.]

    *Conure scream* Hey! Quiet! [All of Tolkien's contact calls are conure noises ... if there's an african gray contact call, I've never heard him use it.]

    *Conure scream* Mr. Woo!

    *Conure scream* Mr. Woo, shut up. ["Mr. Woo" is Tolkien's nickname, after a noise he likes.]

    (btw, I rather wish he hadn't been taught the 4th phrase)

    As a sidenote, I am not sure ignoring the birds per se really has much effect on them. What does seem to help is not doing things that encourage it. If I am standing 4 feet away and ignoring them, they just scream more urgently to try to get results. The know that I can hear them and that any sane being would be responding. They also seem to assume that screaming is essentially what flock members do, and have a hard time imagining that it could be bad. Its like our dog with toys: it never enters her mind that her ball might be less exciting to us, or to other animals, than it is to her. But if I move out of eye sight and don't make much telltale noise, the birds figure I'm hard to locate and they don't try to get my attention so hard. After all, I'm gone or my whereabouts are at least uncertain. At this point, the screaming may be loud, but you can tell its more tentative, and the birds give up after a short time. Well, usually. And I do have a routine worked out with them where I routinely disappear and don't reappear until later.

    One thing does occur to me: we often say things that mean no, but I rarely actually say "NO!" in response to a scream. Tolkien does know what no means, at least in regard to not sinking his beak into an object. Maybe I should test that actually word in connection to screaming and see what he does.
    Last edited by notredamebird; 09-27-2011 at 05:13 AM.
    Atrus---Wesley---Tolkien
    Catherine---Lúthien---Elwing---Tipti

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