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  1. #1
    tweet Breeding Shannon's Avatar
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    Birds and seperation anxiety

    I have brought this subject up on numerous occasions, and when I have received advice I have followed it, but nothing helps.

    The problem is with Diego, of course. He screams at me all of the time, lately. Bubba, bubba, bubba, bubba. And then Willow starts doing it, and she can imitate him perfectly! He screams when I leave the room, he screams when I walk into the kitchen, even though he can see me. He screams if I am on my laptop and the screen is blocking my face. And lately, he even screams if he is not WITH me. He's frustrating me to the point of anger and tears. I don't know what to do with him.

    It doesn't help to ignore the bad behavior and reward the good. In fact, praising him when he is quiet usually leads to screaming. It's to the point that I am putting him upstairs in his sleep cage for time outs when he won't stop. I am at my wits end with him. I love him, he is my baby, but I don't even like him anymore because he just won't stop.

    He's been really pushy with attention lately. He flies over to me at least ten times a day, and I don't mind it sometimes but it has gotten to the point of feeling demanding, and I don't like that.

    What do I do with him? I think he may benefit from a friend, someone else to turn some of his attention and affection to, but it is not an option right now. I don't want another bird and I'm just not in the position to get another one right now. I don't have the space, the time, or the finances, really. And renting with three animals is really hard around here, so adding another one to the mix might tip the scales to the point that I can't find another place that will rent to me.

    Please, give me some advice, here. I have seriously considered finding another home for him because I just can't take it anymore. And this is not something that I take lightly. I have had him for six years, and he is my baby. I type this as tears well up in my eyes at the thought of rehoming him, but something has to be done, here.

  2. #2
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    You might try clipping his wings. It should take the attitude down a notch, and then he won't be flying to you constantly.

    Get him a mirror? Maybe he would start talking to himself.

    I have found when our tiels are screaming, if I go over and say "Shhhhhhhhhhh" at a low volume, they tend to quiet down a bit.

    I know how hard it can be. Right now we have had to separate Dee Dee & Des; Dee Dee screams his fool head off all day long. And the conure scream is awful, but we have to do it for safety reasons.

    I wish I had some fool-proof solution.... but I don't think there ever is with birds.

    Big hugs to you.

  3. #3
    tweet Breeding Shannon's Avatar
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    I've thought about clipping him. He isn't fully flighted, yet, but he's on his way. I've never let his wings grow out because we lived in smaller places, but here his cage is about 50 feet from the front door, so I'm a bit more comfortable with him flying. He still goes in his cage when the door is opened, but the extra space has eased my mind a bit.

    I could try a mirror. He's never had one, so it is worth a shot. I think I'll make a trip to the pet store in a minute.

    If I walk over to his cage to shush him he either gets really happy to see me, and then screams and flies after me when I walk away OR flies away from me because he knows I'm annoyed. He does that even when he's clipped.

    Thanks Sara, I appreciate the input.

  4. #4
    Amorous Tailfeather McDenny's Avatar
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    Definitely clip his wings. That has got to be step number one. I know you might hate it, but if it gets him to settle down, it's worth it, right???

    I have been having this problem with Tegan for MONTHS. He would scream covered or uncovered, when I went to the bathroom, when I went into the kitchen or behind a door, anytime he couldn't see me or be on me. Me and Vinnie were pulling our hair out over it. We had to put in ear plugs to take a nap. And while it's not completely solved, it's much better.

    You can try establishing a better contact call. A favorite whistle or phrase that makes you come over and give Diego attention. For me, it was when Tegan would do the wolf whistle. I would ignore or cover him when he screamed, and let him out or walk over all excited when he would wolf whistle. Completely 100% ignoring your bird will not always work, because sometimes it makes them feel worse. Contact calls are normal for birds. You have to let them know you are there, you've got to replace that obnoxious contact call with an appropriate one. Sometimes you can't eve do that, sometimes you just have to deal with contact calls, though you shouldn't have to deal with constant screaming. It's a delicate balance between "rewarding" the bird for screaming, and appropriate contact calling. When I was at my witts end, I tried actually responding (to a point) to his screaming. When I go upstairs, to the bathroom, or anywhere in the house I tell Tegan "I'll be right back" and then I whistle while I am upstairs or in the bathroom, etc. If he screams while I am upstairs or in the kitchen, I try saying "It's okay Tegan, I'm right here" then I whistle to him. Sometimes, he screams and gets covered. Sometimes, he whistles back to me.

    Also, when it comes to covering, give him some sort of warning and association. My phrase is "Be Quiet". You can say shut up if it makes you feel better , the point is having a phrase that makes him realize he's about to get in trouble. I say "Tegan...Be quiet" and if he screams even once, I walk over to the cage, pick up the blanket, and say it again. If he screams again, he gets covered. Any other noise than a scream (or silence), and I put down the blanket and praise. Sometimes he was so upset he would scream even covered....about the only thing you can do then is turn down the lights and wait for him to realize he isn't getting anywhere by being a jerk

    A huge part of it was that he just wanted to be part of the family. I have a tabletop perch and I started letting him out during dinner, while we were cleaning or working on fish tanks, etc. I don't let him on my shoulder hardly at all anymore, but I put him on his table perch whenever I can. At first, he would just scream and try to get to me. But when he screamed he got put away and I think he began to realize that if he didn't scream he got to hang out with everyone. And not just putting him on the perch and going about my business, I would talk to him a lot, pet him now and then, offer treats when he was being good.

    SO...there are some personal experiences and ideas for you. I would pick a plan and be really, really consistent with how you react to this. Decide whether or not you are going to completely ignore the screaming, whether you are going to "punish" and cover him, when you are going to let him out of the cage to be with you, etc. A little routine and consistency could be key. Unfortunately, it's going to be a learn-as-you go thing. There isn't one go-to method to stop screaming, every bird is different. I can tell you though that if you are patient and consistent, it WILL stop. Things were really rotten for awhile for me, but it does get better. One thing, if you have the time/patience for it, is to make a journal of his behavior. You can track changes better that way, and it might make you feel better once you go through it and realize he is getting better.

    I am not sure how I feel about mirrors...sometimes I think they cause my trouble than what they are worth, but you could try it.

    Sorry you are going through this!

    How old is Diego, by the way??
    Last edited by McDenny; 01-15-2010 at 12:04 PM.

    "Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."
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    Proud mum of; Penny the Linnie, Tegan the BCC

  5. #5
    Amorous Tailfeather McDenny's Avatar
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    AUGH! double post.

    Also, saying "Shhh" is a good idea, Tegan had learned to do it too, and he has also learned to whisper. Sometimes it gets him to calm down.

    "Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."
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    Marcus Aurelius

    Proud mum of; Penny the Linnie, Tegan the BCC

  6. #6
    tweet Breeding Shannon's Avatar
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    I have tried correcting the bad contact calls with a good one. It mostly caused him to scream even more. He got it to a point, and learned that if he would wolf whistle I would respond, but right after I respond he would start screaming again, because it was just too exciting, I guess.

    I have my warning system, I usually tell him to hush, but if I'm really annoyed it is "shut the **** up," and he knows both. (Yes, I have a temper.) After i warn him he gets covered up if he continues, and he always does, so he is always covered. Now, he even screams after I cover him, which is why I have resorted to covered time outs upstairs in his sleep cage.

    Do I need to work on a set in and out of cage time with him? I get the birds up at 11am and they used to get to stay out if I'm home and in the room, which is often. I've been working on in the cage time when I'm home because he used to scream if I was home and was locked up, so that issue is being addressed. I'm teaching Willow from the beginning that me being home doesn't mean she gets to be out, because I have had that problem with Diego.

    I think the problem with Diego is that he never learned to deal with my being out of sight from the beginning. I still lived at home when I got him and I spent all of my time at home in my bedroom, so Diego saw me all of the time, and never learned that it was ok if he couldn't see me.

    So, would he benefit from being in another room? I have considered moving his cage upstairs to the extra bedroom, and bringing him downstairs at certain times during the day. I'm apprehensive about this because I'm worried he wouldn't get as much attention this way AND he would be locked in his cage more because I wouldn't be in the room to supervise. And, this may sound ridiculous and overly emotional, but I don't want him to feel discarded because there is another bird in the house. He's already jealous of the time I spend with Willow.

    He will be six years old at the end of April, and he has been screaming at me for five of the six years. I haven't made much progress since he was a year old...

  7. #7
    Amorous Tailfeather McDenny's Avatar
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    Ahhhh.....it's so hard to say what will work for you and what won't. I hate to sound lame but you pretty much just have to try different things until you figure out something that works for you.

    You could try moving him upstairs, but you would have to be really really good about bringing him out a lot. And it might just increase the screaming, who knows. I took Penny upstairs (for space, not because she is loud) and I am bringing her back down because I just don't feel she is getting enough "me" time. It could be beneficial to Diego, because the flock time might be more meaningful that way, but it might not be good for him. All I can tell you is try it for a few weeks if nothing else is working and see how it goes.

    "Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."
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    Marcus Aurelius

    Proud mum of; Penny the Linnie, Tegan the BCC

  8. #8
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    My guy started doing a lot of the same, but I caught it and am weaning him off being clingy...

    If i leave the room, he screams. To stop this, I put the radio on if i'm going to be gone more than a few minutes. Otherwise, I just tell him "i'll be right back" as I walk away until I am out of his view.

    If he isn't on me, he flies to me. When I want alone time, I put him on his cage and if he flies I put him in his cage. I make him have a few hours alone playtime daily, trying to teach him to be OK if he isn't ON me.

    Screaming just to be screaming when I respond to him i fixed by if he screams like that, I tell him "behave or i'll put you away" and if he doesn't, I put him in his cage and if he doesn't stop, block his view of me with a sheet. If I make noise he'll keep screaming, so I stand there quietly for a few minutes til he calms down and take the sheet off. (I never block his sunlight, just make him not able to see me) ... after proving to him i'm more stubborn than him, he will play with his toys nicely (meaning spend 10m blocking his view if he screams, letting him see me if he is quiet)

    I found if I get annoyed, he gets annoyed. So, I respond to his screaming as calmly as possible... getting mad at him just makes him scream more.

    My tiel came spoiled rotten from the breeder (he considers them his babies) and continued to be spoiled rotten here. He still screams, a bit... but it is tolerable. He'll do anything to get back on me, even stay away from me for a bit.

    My guy is also more interested in being in / on his cage if I fuss with his toys or make him new ones before i put him there.

  9. #9
    Amorous Tailfeather McDenny's Avatar
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrie View Post

    I found if I get annoyed, he gets annoyed. So, I respond to his screaming as calmly as possible... getting mad at him just makes him scream more.
    Oh I TOTALLY agree with this one! When I *yell* "Be QUIET" as opposed to calmly saying, "Tegan, be quiet" he yells right back, and in a very angry voice, too. Birds are definitely tuned in to our emotions. If I'm doing the dishes or making lots of noise he makes lots of noise, too. If I'm yelling up the stairs to someone he will often yell, too. If I'm angry he becomes angry as well.

    "Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."
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    Marcus Aurelius

    Proud mum of; Penny the Linnie, Tegan the BCC

  10. #10
    Egg's Cracking...
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    Re: Birds and seperation anxiety

    ignore the screaming but reward him when he whistles. Go to him every time he whistles. He will have the same promblem if you rehome him and he could go to home to home until he ends up in a rescue.
    try everything you can before rehoming
    Linda

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