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Why do Budgies scream?

Let’s look at this logical folks, not that Budgie are logical but they are creatures of habit. If you have a flock of wild Budgies in trees (in their natural environment) or even a flock of local wild birds in your back yard. On any given sunny day a flock of birds will make a lot of noise – it’s all about FLOCK. Chirp, chirp, scream, scream. What are they communicating about? Same things we do. “Find any food lately? Yeah, they had a great sale on worms about a mile from here.”

Boy if we had THE answer we’d be writing this from our yacht. But of course, I have to weigh in here. What got me thinking about the subject of “why birds scream,” is some recent web surfing for a budgie.

Why is my bird screaming? No real explanation is offered and at the end of the paragraph, they recommend taking your parrot to a vet if screaming persists.

Let’s look at these logical folks, not that Budgie is logical but they are creatures of habit. If you have a flock of wild Budgies in trees (in their natural environment) or even a flock of local wild birds in your back yard. On any given sunny day a flock of birds will make a lot of noise – it’s all about FLOCK. Chirp, chirp, scream, scream. What are they communicating about? Same things we do. “Find any food lately? Yeah, they had a great sale on worms about a mile from here.”

SILENCE means danger!

If you’ve ever seen a hawk fly over a flock of wild birds, you swear you can hear the sound of the hawk’s wings flapping. That’s one of the reasons parrots come in so many colors. If they’re quiet and deep in a tree they are difficult to spot. When that danger passes its chirp, chirp, scream, scream. So again I ask, “is screaming a reason to run to the vet? I don’t think so.

Something we hear a lot of is – people will have a screaming bird (usually newbie’s) and the bird will scream for whatever reason. What does their human companion do? Yell SHUT UP! And what does the Budgie do? SCREAM SOME MORE!

Again I fall back on my good friend logic.

The bird screams, you scream back. Do you think there may be a slight chance that when you scream back the bird might be thinking “hey – this is great!  Someone is finally squawking back at me “hey SCREAM, SCREAM, please scream back some more, I’m lonely you’re my flock and I need to talk to someone than you?”

Excessive screaming is a learned behavior that we teach our birds.  Covering your feathered companion with a blanket teaches him or her that you will cover the cage when the scream gets out of hand.



Yelling at a screaming Budgie gives the Budgie the attention it seeks.  Ignoring a screaming Budgie is not the answer either. Ignoring the bird’s screams could result in finding injuries too late.  Options are to make sure all your Psittacine’s needs are satisfied.  Large hygienic cage, clean water, fresh food, working toys. Twelve hours of sleep (uninterrupted), softwood and other materials to chew, and plenty of exercises.

Start with a signal to stop loud budgies.

Ring a cowbell (or bang a pot) in the room next to the screaming bird. They hear the bell (sound), they stop to listen, Show up from the other room while they are quiet to praise and reward. Set them up to succeed. Use a time when you know they are quite loud. Distract them with a new noise in the next room. As soon as they stop to listen, appear and praise.

Lengthen the time between the signal and your appearance each time. Try and take a whole day at first and only work with the budgie and the screaming. Initial rewards should be substantial, a known favorite treat. Use the same signal just before feeding fresh food. Wait until the budgie is noisy; give the signal, praise, and feed.

Not all budgies will quiet down for the same signal so you may have to try several noises before finding the one that works for you.

Note: Do not use your voice. They may try to mimic you.

Scream time is a time during the day that you allow your budgies to be noisy. This should be given somewhere between 3p.m. and 7p.m. each day. Encourage your budgies by playing stimulating music. Dance, sing or scream along with them. Scream time should last no less than 15minutes and no more than 1/2 hour each day.

Some budgies enjoy screaming to the vacuum, this is fine to encourage but play music as well. Find music that your budgies gets excited over. Use that same song every day for scream time. Change the music from time to time but be consistent overall. When Scream time is over, lower the music volume Talk your budgie down. Lower the music slowly, turn it off, and play their relaxation code music. Give them afternoon snacks when “cool down” is over.

Birds will wait for their “Scream Time” because they know they will be rewarded for their patience.
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2 Comments

  1. I’ve developped a close relationship with Miss Molly. I actually understand her chirps and screams..i can tell when she’s tired or when looking for something. She’ll scream and go back and forth to her fruit corner if i didn’t leave her any.. I keep Miss Molly right beside me in my bedroom. I can’t stand leaving her alone. Living in a loft she’s within eyesight constantly. At night i partly cover her cage and crack a few glow sticks that dim after a few hours. She LOVES that time when i put the glow sticks and i also put on a music show for her on tv…Roger Waters, In the flesh ( i am not crazy ) and she chirps and sings for 2 hours along with the show. I do this from 8 to 10. Then she knows it’s sleeping time. I go to bed and she’ll come close and softly chirps to me until i cover the rest of the cage and tell her i love her..
    I have never been so attached to an animal as i am with Miss Molly. <3

  2. What type of bird imitates all sounds? … In the USA a mocking bird can make about any kind of sound , … How is the Lyre Bird able to imitate any sound , …

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