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How to live with noisy parrots

February 27, 2011

I recently changed the title of this blog to “Technology and Other Musings” because I wanted to add an article here or there that wasn’t necessarily about technology. So I thought I’d write one about how to live with noisy parrots, since many parrot owners run into problems with their birds making a lot of noise.

I have two parrots that live with me in my small apartment. One is a brown head parrot and the other is a caique. Brown head parrots are relatively quiet, low-key birds while caiques can be a bit louder and more energetic. The two birds together though can get a bit noisy, since they like to call to one another sometimes.

So here are a few tips on how to live with noisy parrots. They’ve worked well for me so they might also help you. This is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s just a couple of ways that I’ve learned to deal with my parrot’s noise. If you have additional suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below.

Blackout Curtains: How to Keep Parrots Quiet in the Morning
Parrots are like any birds, when the day begins they start to wake up. This should be a generally pleasant time for all as everybody is about to start their day. However, if you are a night owl or you just happen to have stayed up late then it can be difficult if your birds decide to start their day before you’re ready.

I had to deal with this with my brown head parrot. He used to wake me up shortly after the sun had come up, even with my shades down. The shades just did not block out enough light to keep him in quiet, sleepy mode until I woke up.

I started looking around for curtains and found some wonderful thermal/blackout curtains on Amazon.com. These curtains work beautifully to keep the light out of the room. I bought three pairs of cranberry curtains for my living room and it keeps my parrots quiet until I wake up and I’m ready for them to start their day.

Buy Blackout Curtain 63"L

Click the photo to buy blackout curtains to help keep your parrots quiet in the morning.

The curtains come in a number of colors. They may not be the most luxurious looking curtains but they really do get the job done. When it comes to sleeping in, luxury must give way to practicality. They come in 63 or 84 inch lengths. The link in the image I provided above goes to the 63 inch version as those fit my windows best. But you can click here if you need the 84 inch version.

Bear in mind that the curtains don’t block out all the light, there’s still a bit that comes in at the top. But they block out most of it and they have eliminated the dreaded early morning bird noises that used to make me grumpy and that stopped me from sleeping in.

If you’re the type that appreciates the ability to have parrots and still sleep in, grab these curtains. You’ll love em’, I sure as heck do!

Ear Protection for the Gun Range & Parrots
It’s perfectly normal for parrots to make noise during the day, and most of the time it’s fine. However, there can be times when it can be annoying to listen to and if you are having one of those days you need something to take the sound level down a bit.

One of the best tools I’ve found is earmuffs; the same ones I use at the gun range.  Yes, that’s right…the ear protection for guns works great with parrots. Bear in mind that it won’t block out all the sound but it can help take it down a notch or two, and it will help you avoid making the mistake of reinforcing negative behavior by responding to the noise (see the negative reinforcement section below).

This is particularly helpful if you have co-dependent parrots that freak out if you leave the room. This drives some parrot owners crazy, because they feel they can’t move around in their own house without listening to a lot of noise. I sympathize, I had to deal with a bird like that for years and it can really drive you up a wall.

Amazon.com has a good selection of shooting earmuffs that should work well to temporarily reduce the noise of parrots.

Click the picture to buy ear muffs that will help protect you from unwanted parrot noise.

Beware of Negative Reinforcement!
One of the biggest mistakes some parrot owners make is to reinforce noise with negative attention. Yelling at your bird to demand that it be quiet does NOT work with parrots. You should NEVER respond to loud, irritating noises. Ignore them. Do not teach the bird to make those noises by looking at the bird, talking to it or otherwise giving it any attention.

When the bird makes noises that please you then you can talk to it, pet it or otherwise give it attention.



Please don’t misunderstand me; I am not suggesting that you should ignore your bird in a general sense. But it’s very important to only give your bird attention when it is appropriate. Obviously, if you think your bird is in real distress (if it’s injured, etc.) then you need to check on it appropriately.

But beware of accidentally teaching your bird to make those irritating noises that you hate. Negative reinforcement can make a noisy bird even worse because they love attention and they remember what they are doing when they get it.

Brown Head Parrot

Brown Head Parrot

Final Thoughts
Parrots can be wonderful pets since they can form emotional bonds with their owners (or slaves, as I like to refer to myself as a parrot slave…heh). But they can also be challenging to deal with when it comes to noise. So make sure that you have the right tools for the job.

Solid ear protection and blackout curtains can be extremely helpful in protecting your sanity and sleep.

What’s your take on parrot noise? Got a good tip to share with your fellow parrot slaves? Post it in the comments section below.


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10 Responses to How to live with noisy parrots

  1. aster De Schriiver on August 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    what is the legal situation if you have a neighbour keeping 80 parrots outside and making terrible noise a number of times per day??
    any adviseis wellcome.
    Country: Belgium  

  2. Jim on November 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Tanja,

    Sounds like you rescued them, good job. :smile:

    I always keep my birds wings clipped, for their own safety. It can be quite dangerous to let them fly around the house. I let Bilbo do that for a while and it wasn’t a good idea.

    Clipping their wings does not hurt them, and it helps prevent them flying into mirrors, windows, etc. So you might want to find a good bird shop or vet that can do it for you.

    It’s possible to clip their wings yourself but you need to learn how and you must also be able to keep control of the bird while doing it. So don’t try it yourself. Take them somewhere where it can be done safely.

    I know the temptation is to let them fly because they are birds. But many birds die from flying into boiling pots, windows and other common household things. So please consider keeping them clipped.

    It also usually helps keep them better behaved and tamer since they have to depend on you to get around. Bilbo got quite aggressive when he had his wings, their personalities can change.

    Anyway, congrats to you on your new friends. They are lucky to have you to care for them.


  3. tanja on November 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    i got two parakeets a few weeks ago, they where in a really bad shape, no contact, sitting in a small cage with only 1 rope to sit on and it was freezing in that place! and of course the weren’t able to fly, which led to one of the 2 doesn’t really know, how to fly, because the breeder took him out the nest, so they’d become used to the hand! *m****f***** (sorry)
    so i googled them and found out, that over here (germany), they are called geese-parrots, because they sound like geese once they get going!
    so know, that i had them a few weeks, got them a bigger cage with lots of stuff and a nest, which they need and all kind of woods and we started on letting them fly each day a bit more and oh look, the 1, who didn’t know how to fly is slowly getting the hang of it, watching his/jer partner and now coming to the noisy part:
    the only time, apart from them having their odd conversations during the day, but in a earfriendly sound, each time an ambulance drives by (and we have a lot each day, hospital next to us), they start imitating the ambulance with their geese sound!
    so now i not only have a rescue dog, who howls at the sirens, but 2 “crazy” rescue parakeet too! but i wouldn’t miss them for the world, as they are a funny couple to watch!
    wow, sorry for that book!

  4. dar on July 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    - ‘Bach Rescue Remedy’ works like a charm on critters,humanoids
    & our feathered overlords during moments of stress,emotional or physical.
    eg,Guy,the 18 yr old’tiel pecked out his wing blood feathers
    [site of the cancer]& was freaking out:
    a drop of Rescue on my finger& a quick flick of it on his wing
    & eye contact was established in a millisecond!

  5. Vesta Schindler on April 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I don’t consider Ozzie my Blue & Gold Macaw noisy. He is an integral part of this family. He watches everything that goes on outside and gives us all an alert so we know it too. He loves to cook, wants cheese on everything. Gives out his peanuts to the dogs when he get full. Loves to watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers play football, encourages them with his holler “YEEHAW!” Always tells me when a horse gets out, warns the horse, “she come’n to get ya!” He loves to go around and around on the chandelier when he can get by with it. Loves his juice in the mornings. Enjoys singing “Ozzie is a pretty bird, a pretty bird, yes he is”. And I could go on & on & on.

  6. Maria on April 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I have an African Grey, and although he can be noisy at times, he’s usually pretty good. I don’t cover him at home and we don’t have blackout curtains. In fact, his cage is right next to a window and he’s awake as soon as it gets light. This isn’t a big deal in Arizona, but when I go to Washington State for the summer, it starts to get light at about 4 AM and doesn’t get dark until about 10 PM.

    If I didn’t cover him there, neither of us would get enough sleep.

  7. Andrew on April 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

    We have a sun conure and 2 cockatiels and i thought the conure would be the nosiest but the cockatiels win hands down. the curtain idea is very good as it works for us in the mornings so the birds dont wake up till we open the curtains.

  8. Jessica on April 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I have a Greenwing Macaw named Phoenix. She is currently sitting on my leg as I type because she can’t stand to be away from me. I left on vacation for a few days and my boyfriend let her out, she completely ignored him and walked her tiny little parrot legs all over the house looking for me.

    I found this article very interesting. I feel I’ve tried everything to tone down her “screaming” problem, nothing seems to work though, even ignoring her. She’s a very persistent and stubborn bird. She’s learned to scream her lungs out until I go crazy. *sigh…* Lately she’s been slightly better, I try to hold out as long as I can, but she’s so loud and my neighbors so close, its very disruptive.

    Every once in a great while she will be in her room and say “Come here” over and over until I go in there. I’m looking for earmuffs though! and reinforcing verbal communication :)

  9. Jim on March 4, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Hi Cynthia,

    It sounds like you’ve got a good system for your birds. Mine live in cages that are too big to use a cover on. I’d need a king size comforter or something. :wink:

    Yeah, the noise is something I’m used to though it does freak out other people who aren’t used to it. I get freaked out when I go over somebody’s house and it’s too quiet! :w00t: :angel: :biggrin:

  10. Cynthia Typaldos on March 4, 2011 at 12:34 am

    I came to your blog to read “The Great Huffington Post Exodus” and also found this useful post re: noisy parrots! I have noisy cockatiels — yeah, they are small but there are 6 of them and they can create a cacophony of sound! They especially love it when I am on the speakerphone. They feel obligated to join the conversation no matter what the topic!

    What I do is primitive but it works…I close the blinds (they look out the front window) and cover their cage with one of those dark blue packing blankets. It works good enough.

    I’ve had these cockatiels for so long (20 years!) that I myself don’t even notice their chatterings. It’s the people on the phone, or visitors, that get annoyed.

    By the way, my company, Kachingle, has a great solution for the HuffPuff conundrum. Contact me if you would like to discuss.

    Founder, Kachingle
    Pet Guardian of 6 cockatiels and 3 dogs

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