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Thread: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

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    Brand New Egg Vickaronomie's Avatar
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    Red face Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    Hello everyone!! I'm Nana's other owner, Vicky. I've never posted here before but since Andy is off being busy, I thought I'd start.


    The "Lion" technique.

    So basically, my concern is that Nana is becoming ever more vocal. MOST days she's very reserved and calm but it never fails that every time one of us comes home, she starts screaming from her cage. I could barely call it screaming; it's the loudest she ever is but it's not like the average Parakeet. Doesn't hurt the ears. However, she does this for hours while we wait for her to be silent for a couple minutes, and then we let her out.

    I don't want to wait hours for her to stop but she has everything she needs in her cage, and waiting is the only training I've ever read about. But we have a new problem which I want to nip in the bud; constant ...talking?

    Even now, ever since we got her out of her cage today, she's been chirping. Constantly. I'm afraid to acknowledge anything she does because it might encourage the behavior, but there isn't much I can do otherwise that wouldn't... and I feel like she should be getting more attention than that. She almost never does this and I'm still confused as to what could have prompted it.

    I don't know what to do. Some online sources say it means the bird is happy and to talk to it (but they are always describing MALE Cockatiel behavior,) and other sources say to ignore it.

    Hm. Just now she got fed up and flew to the floor. She isn't calling anymore so maybe I'll just let her roam and we'll see what happens. Maybe she's hungry... I DON'T KNOOOOW...

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    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    There are several behaviors they make noise for and really you have to understand their ... I don't know how to put it, tone? Body language can help a lot too.

    For example: my tiel will call me if I leave the room - this is NORMAL and you can respond to a flock call, it makes them feel safe and often causes them to be quiet. In the wild a bird would call to a flock mate as normal communication.

    Bratty attention screaming happens when I leave the room and I flock call to him and he sets off screaming his head off wanting me back in the room. This isn't his light, short little flock call - this is his distressed/angry noise directed at me because I *gasp* left his sight and he didn't like it. This I ignore, until he is quiet or makes the right noise.

    Chattering / talking / chirping is a happy noise and birds often make noise throughout the day. My tiel will sit in his cage making little chirping half talk like noises and if I respond he'll go on for a while. I think it's cute and he's just being happy and playing, so I encourage that behavior.

    Squawking sometimes happens (like right now he's squawking at the washing machine), that can get into the high pitched ow my ears stage, I usually ignore that because I don't want to encourage THAT noise.

    Females can sometimes chatter/talk, though it is rarer than with males. If you don't mind the noise she is making, I wouldn't discourage it when she chatters. If she flock calls, call back (make sure you use a noise you don't MIND because they can pick up your flock call). If she makes annoying noises, though isn't really being bratty about it, you can try to change the noise by making a good noise back at her. Though there you have to be careful because you can encourage the noise, or change it, depending on her. With my tiel I can't whistle, so I got him to make a different type of flock call and we use that, by making the noise I wanted every time he made his call.

    This can be a tricky training phase, because it requires knowing your bird and the difference between dominance/bratty behavior and normal happy bird behavior that maybe gets a little annoying and you want to change.

    She also may be getting a little hormonal, which can start some odd behaviors. When my male gets hormonal, he tends to make more noise than normal. He'll back into a corner and just make this weird squawk/chirp thing with his tail up in the air. Not sure how females respond to hormones exactly, but I know they can get a little attitude over it.

    Oh edit: When you are coming home, I would suggest giving a flock call to let her know you are there. My tiel squawks first when I enter the door too, he is just excited and wants to know who is there and wants to communicate to his long lost flock! I always call to him as I leave and as I come back, it keeps him calm and he's learned when to recognize i'm leaving for a minute "be right back" and i'm leaving for a while "night night" if i'm leaving him to sleep, or "bye bye" if I am going out for hours.

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    Brand New Egg Vickaronomie's Avatar
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    Re: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    Hi Marrie!

    Thanks for your info! She used to flock call and would silence upon hearing both of us call back. This hasn't happened in a while, though. Lately, when I think she's flock-calling, I call back but this tends to go back and forth between us until I stop because I don't want her to call so much.

    We've also been dealing with that bratty kind of... overly-dramatic chirping that says "I want attention!" and that happens every time she hears someone at the front door--doesn't matter who. So we've had to stay out of the room she's in and keep the door shut, leave her cage cover on (because it's usually late morning that she starts this,) and we wait until she's quiet to get her.

    I just want to point out that we have class in the morning, so the weekends are her only time to have normal interaction, like waking up in the morning with us and being able to come out of the cage. However, we're thinking of waking up with her at around 8am and providing a little attention before we have to leave the apartment. Perhaps it'll help her deal with the few hours we are gone.

    And the chitter-chatter she makes seems like she's just talking--I could be wrong though... but when she does it, she's a super fluff ball with a slightly elevated crest. Doesn't seem like sadness or moodiness at all. I can't whistle either, so I'll have to tell Andy about "changing" her chirps. They're cute... but only during the first five minutes. And she does it straight into our ears.

    We'll start trying the call before we leave and after we come home. The coming home call might be hard to do, though, since she starts up right as she hears the door click.

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    Administrator Tailfeather Community Administrator
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    Re: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    Do you leave the T.V., radio or anything on for her when you are at class?

    Also, how old is she now? She may be starting to hit that puberty stage, where they become a bit hard to handle for a little while. I cannot tell you how many times I had to just step out for a minute to calm down when my bird hit puberty. It is nearly as bad as an actual child!

    You could try a training exercise with her over the attention calling - when my bird forgets his manners and starts it up (even though he's with me _all the time_ he still does it sometimes) I take him into our bedroom. Since he has a large cage now I can throw a sheet up over the side i'm standing on to block his view of me. When he makes the good noise/quiet I step from behind the sheet and tell him he's a good bird. When he makes a bad noise, I stay out of sight and count. 5 seconds to start the exercise, then expand it to 10 seconds as he starts to pick up that the loud noises to get my attention do not work (example: "scream" .. 1,2,3 "scream" 1,2,3,4,5... "good bird"). If he makes the bad noise as soon as he sees me, I move back behind the sheet immediately. This gets rather tiring, especially since I have to be totally quiet, but it usually works to teach him his manners again. The most time I have spent in a day doing this is 1 hour and that was his puberty phase, though I used a door rather than a sheet to hide behind. I use the bedroom because it isn't connected to anyone elses apartment, so the neighbors don't have to hear him screaming.

    Doesn't work with all birds, they are as unique as people after all, but if you try different training methods I am sure you'll find something that works for her.

    When coming in the door, my tiel starts his squawks as soon as he hears us on the steps, I let him have that one squawk because it is kind of like a dog barking because he is excited you're home. As soon as I make our call, he changes his tune to the proper noise, or starts saying "turkey bird, turkey bird, turkey bird!" all excited and fast.

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    Re: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    I agree with everything Marie has said. Just like a child, you will get to know their different sounds/squawks, behavior. Training takes time and reinforcement is necessary to curb unwanted behaior.

    I am lucky as mine is not a squawker, he loves to whistle. At times he will squawk for my husband when he is sleeping in and I just say "sleeping". It takes a couple of times, but then he stops. He will let out his warning squawk if a hawk has landed in a tree out back of the house and take off. I then respond with "Its OK" and he will calm down. Mine also gets very excited when we get up or come home. Soon as I get up in the morning, I say "hello" and he says "hello" back; to my husband he has a different greeting. The first thing I do when I come home, is say "Hello ZoZo Birdie" and let him out. Until I let him out he will squawk, but as soon as his door is opened he stops squawking and starts whistling. Just like a dog, they are so happy to see you.

    Puberty is fun!! Mine got a little overbearing, but this too shall pass.

    As I stated, mine loves to whistle and I have used this a diversion to squawking. My husband cannot whistle, but I can! ZoZo is always trying to learn new songs and we have built up a nice repertoire. As a joke, I have been teaching him the "Meow Mix" tune. He almost has it down pat, still a little problem with pitch. The only problem I have is if I stop whistling to him and he still wants to continue, he will pull on my bottom lip until I start again. He enjoys it and it makes him happy. A happy bird is a loving bird!!

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    Re: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    I had a male tiel that would scream every time I came home, which would irritate me, so I'd ignore him... a friend suggested that Birdie was SO happy to see me, that he couldn't contain himself. Friend suggested that when I came home, I should approach the cage and make a BIG fuss over Birdie for a few minutes. This worked wonderfully, and I'd then go take a shower before letting Birdie out for the evening. Having been appropriately acknowledged, he'd wait patiently for me to let him out. Just another perspective - you might try it. : )

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    Re: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    My peeper is very considerate , it he is squealing and then sees my eyes closed he stops making any noise : When I work night shift and sleep during the day he is as quiet as a mouse and sleeps at the same time I do only eating and having water now and again (he is right next to my bed)

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    Brand New Egg Vickaronomie's Avatar
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    Re: Nana the Cockatiel - calls, calls, calls...

    Marrie-- we don't leave on the TV or radio unless we know we'll be gone for most of the day. I'm not sure if it helps, because she still calls for us. We leave for class pretty early in the morning and return a little before noon. Not sure of her exact age... she was born in 2008. I don't know anything about puberty, hee hee... Nana also calls when someone comes to the front door, which I don't mind that much... but I don't want to encourage its continuance throughout the day. We've used the type of training you described but we probably need to practice it a little more than we do. Spring Break is coming up, so we'll have lot's of time, then!

    ZoZo Birdie-- we live in an apartment complex with very strict rules about noise, so we have to keep Nana from squawking as much as we can. We're currently training her to be silent until we come to the cage, or her living room perch, so that it isn't instilled in her that she should call us in order to see us. Our situation really calls for less noise, heh...

    FlyingCircus808-- we've tried it, and believe me, she would only "talk" back, hahaha...

    peeper-- that's very nice! Nana is like that a lot, too. It's mostly been returning home or in the morning.

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