Home > Pet Parrots > A noisy cockatoo, plus Pet Expo 2010

A noisy cockatoo, plus Pet Expo 2010

Today’s post is just a bunch of miscellaneous musings on parrots.  I recently took a few of my parrots – Lucy, Peggy, and Ripley – to the Edmonton Pet Expo.  We help out with the parrot club information table, which I think is one of the more popular tables there, along with the reptile society’s table.  A lot of people ask me if any of my birds talk and I think that’s the most common question I get, next to, “Can I hold them?”  None of my personal birds are great talkers, although Ripley sure tries sometimes.  However, some of my parrots are great screechers!  Here are a couple of videos of Mitri, my Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, sounding off:

At about two and eleven seconds in, you can hear my Jenday Conure (Peggy) and at about 24 seconds in, Ripley the Red-lored Amazon sounds off in the distance.

Mitri’s not angry or upset in either video.  He just likes to have a good screech off on occasion.  Since quite a few parrots find themselves in need of a new home due to their owner’s inability to tolerate their noise, I tend to warn most potential parrot owners about the noise parrots can make.  It’s not something everyone wants to put up with.

I have noticed that what is and isn’t tolerable does seem to be subjective.  At Pet Expo, Peggy (a Jenday Conure) would sometimes screech at people. Reactions ranged from, “Well, that’s not so bad!” to people thinking that Peggy’s screech was one of the worst sounds ever produced.  Sun and Jenday Conures have reputations for being ridiculously noisy birds and they really are quite shrill and loud.  Some people who’ve visited my house think Peggy’s just adorable and think they want a Jenday of their own until she opens her mouth.  However, Peggy’s screeches barely register in my brain and I just accept them as part of the background noise.  She’s also downright quiet compared to Mitri.  Oddly enough, I’m generally a quiet person that enjoys peace and my house is usually quiet.  If the radio’s on, it’s usually classical music or soft jazz.  This keeps the animals fairly mellow, although if they make noise, it doesn’t upset me.   Animal noises just don’t bug me that much.

Peggy the Jenday Conure

Peggy is missing a foot so at Pet Expo I have to explain to a lot of people what happened.  People tend to feel sorry for her and her accident was unfortunate, but I think she’s adapted very well.  She can perch on large, wide perches just fine and is very comfortable perching on shoulders.  I don’t allow large, volatile birds on my shoulder but Peggy is quite predictable and I trust she won’t bite my face while she’s up there.  Plus, if she did, it’s not something I’d get upset with her over.

Lucy, the Maroon-bellied Conure

Lucy is probably my friendliest, most docile parrot and she often will go to strangers and perch on their fingers.  This year she was more interested in her food dish, which was fine.  If she doesn’t want to go to someone, she’ll just refuse, rather than bite.

Ripley the Red-lored Amazon

Here’s Ripley, my Red-lored Amazon.  She’s very, very calm in public unless someone tries to touch her.  As I explain it to people, she really should be approached like she’s another person.  Most people don’t mind talking to strange people, but nearly everyone would get upset if a stranger just walked up to them and grabbed their feet or hair or whatever and Ripley feels the same way.  She will “step-up” to some men, but for the most part, she’s not that comfortable with strangers touching her.

Of course, every bird is an individual and this lovely female Green-wing Macaw just loves attention and will stand on the arm of any friendly person.  She’s very popular at Pet Expo and lots of people take pictures of their friends or family members holding her.

Moluccan Cockatoo

I don’t bring Mitri to Pet Expo since he’s very highly strung and can be volatile.  If sometime tries to pick him up when he doesn’t want that, he will bite hard with little warning.  This is unlike Ripley, who will scream and squeal a lot before resorting to nipping someone.

However, the Moluccan Cockatoo in the picture above was amazingly calm.  He’d let anyone scratch his head and he stayed on his perch the whole time and relished the attention.  Mitri loves head scratches too and will let strangers scratch his head but sitting still on a perch just isn’t his thing.

Congo African Grey Parrot

Here’s a nice African Grey Parrot that was there.  He seemed pretty calm about everything and did well.

Greys seem to have a reputation for being very shy and neurotic. Indeed, I have come across some greys that fit that description well.  However, there are lots of African Greys in the parrot club I’m in that are very well-adjusted, are calm in public, and are quite friendly.  It seems to me that if an African Grey was well-socialized as a youngster, given lots of toys, and introduced to plenty of friendly people then it has a good chance of becoming a well-adjusted adult.

I’m going to end this post with this cute photo of Chiku! my current foster bird:

Chiku! A Crimson-bellied / Green-cheeked Conure mix.

She loves climbing up on that paper holder.

  1. June 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm


    I have the below 3 queries about Alexandrine Parrots:

    Question One:
    At what age does an Alexandrine Parakeet start to have the ring formation? When does the light / shadow black line around neck starts? The complete black takes place in a three year span but when does this very light tinge of black line around the neck start?

    Question Two:
    When does bluffing stage start and when does it end in Alex?

    Question Three:
    I really need help here:. I have a very sweet Alexandrine Parrot of 2 years brought home two weeks back. Unfortunately he is extremely scared and aggressive when he sees hands and fingers. He is fine with nose touching but hands and fingers is a huge problem. He bites and will show all signs of ‘stay away’ aggression. I have tried to feed with hand – still no results – the moment food is consumed he resorts to biting.
    I do not want to give up hope as I can see that he does not mind being petted by nose hence he is not totally against humans. Maybe there is a past negative exposure of being mis-handled and hence he has associated this with fingers and hands. He has no problem with people being close to him as long as hands are kept away.
    Am reading a lot of techniques and none seem to show progress.
    Is there anyway in which I can have him trust hand and fingers? Please share your experience and views.

    Please help me with the above three questions.


    • Jessie
      June 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      Hi – I’m actually not sure when the ring starts to appear in male Alexandrines.

      A fear of hands is not uncommon in parrots. It can be caused by two things: a history of rough handling or no handling. A bird that isn’t carefully and kindly handled when it’s young will gradually develop a fear of hands as he ages. Most birds are apprehensive of things they weren’t exposed to as juveniles. Forceful handling can also make birds afraid of hands. For example, people are often advised to push a bird in the chest to make him step up on a hand. However, if a bird learns that a hand coming at him means he’s going to be pushed around, he may become nervous of hands.

      Getting your bird used to hands will take some patience. It is helpful that he’s not completely scared of people and there are lots of training exercises you can do with him that don’t involve getting him to step up on your hands.

      Target training is one possibility. I describe how this is done in this post: https://zoologica.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/clicker-training-parrots/

      The problem you will have is that your parrot seems nervous of taking food from hands. Presenting food rewards on a wooden spoon may help. If he’s scared of the spoon, you can get him used to it by leaving it by his cage and then by placing it in his cage with some of his favourite food on the end of it. Once he’s used to it and knows that the end often has food on it, you can train him by presenting food on the spoon as a reward. Aside from target training, you can teach him to raise a foot, or make certain vocalizations on cue. Train using rewards and no punishment. This can help you develop a positive rapport with your bird and he can learn that interacting with you is enjoyable and non-threatening. If he likes being petted by nose, continue interacting with him that way too.

      You will want to get him used to your hands and presenting treats on a spoon may help with that. First, keep your hand far on the end of the spoon and gradually move it closer. If he gets scared, move your hand further back next time. Eventually, you may be able to present a food treat in your hand. I also describe in the above article how to train a step-up onto a hand using a target. However, you may have better luck teaching him to step up on a perch. This may have to be done in steps – first start rewarding the bird for looking at the perch, then going towards it, then placing a foot on it, and then stepping right on it. If he learns to step on a hand held perch, you can move him around without having to hold him. The next step can be stepping up on a hand, but go slowly with that.

      Good luck!

      • June 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

        Thank you Jessie for the detailed explanation. I will definitely try what you have shared. I will visit your link as well. Thanks once again God Bless Jessie

  1. January 30, 2010 at 1:28 am

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