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Parrots/Screaming Orange Winged Amazon

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Question
Hi. I recently acquired an OWA that I literally know nothing about. Not sex, age, history - nothing. We bonded immediately (and from his/her side quite strongly) but now he screams constantly whenever I am around but he is not with me. Like when I'm working around the house and he knows I'm there but he's not with me ie on my shoulder, he'll scream constantly. Same when I leave the room. However, if I am not around at all (say gone shopping) and he knows I'm gone, heks as quite as a mouse. Also, my kids (4 & 5) also sets him off as they are naturally quite loud and boisterous as kids are. What can I do to train him to quite down? I know he will still be noisy as Amazons tend to be but I'm talking about constant non stop screaming until I come get him. I always try to wait for him to stop screaming for about 3 seconds before I 'appear' (working to increase time increments) and when, in between screaming, he gives an acceptable whistle I will answer the whistle immediately but what else can I do? I've had him about three weeks. Thanks, I'd appreciate the help.

Answer
--  This isn't at all unusual.  You've enjoyed the honeymoon, now it's time to establish order, rules and with that bring the love back.

 I'm not joking about the 'honeymoon' period.  Whenever a bird enters a new place, they are on their best behavior since they have no idea who can be trusted, whether they're the dinner guest or the dinner.   Once they size things up and feel safe and secure, they take the reigns and let's admit it, a bird shouldn't rule he house.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to their parrots is thinking of them like a dog or cat.  Parrots are actually much more intelligent than these mammals, recently ranked with apes, chimpanzees and dolphins in their highly developed sense of awareness and intelligence.

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When your bird screams and you react, even if you're red in the face, yelling and flailing your arms in the air, the bird is getting a reward for the scream - your attention.  The worst thing you can do to a bird is deny them your attention. So, when there's screaming going on, stop and silence everything.  Put the t.v. on mute, put the kids on mute and everybody freeze, turning your back to the bird or even leaving the room.

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Sure, this is an effort on your part, but think about it. If it stops the screaming, isn't a few days of effort going to be worth it?  There are no quick solutions, no magic or secret tricks.  
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Once the bird stops screaming - and your timing needs to be impeccable to catch them during those few seconds as they catch their breath - turn or re enter the room, face them, quietly praise them and interact.  The moment they start again, turn your back and hit all those mute buttons again.
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Set aside a couple times a day for the bird to be a bird.  Usually in the morning and just before going to roost in the evening most birds will chatter and call out to touch base with everyone else in their flock, which under domestic conditions is you and your family.
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 Prepare the neighborhood and remind them that at least it's not loud music, annoying boom-cars, screaming  children, barking dogs or fighting spouses (although you want to be careful about what you say and to whom) - this is just a few minutes a couple times a day of a bird exercising their vocal chords.

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Parrots

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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott

Expertise

Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.

Experience

Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

Organizations
4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Publications
Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

Education/Credentials
Doctorate, Ordained Minister

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