Photo by David Location: Coney Island, NY Shown: Animal Open House Aviaries
My cockatoo, Bondi, makes this obnoxious sound on metal. If I take all the metal away (which is impossible by the way because eventually she will even do it on the cage bars) she will find something to do this sound on. It's like she's feeding from it and no one really notices it but for some reason, it annoys the heck out of me! The sound on its own just gets under my skin. I was telling my horse trainer friend about it, because at the animal open house here in Coney Island Bondi was doing this and she only does it for attention. Which is probably why it drives me so crazy is because I can't go over and stop her otherwise I'm just telling her it works on getting the attention she wants.
Anyway, my horse trainer friend told me about how one of his horses used to slide its teeth across the metal part of his stall and it was the same thing for him - just drove him up the wall! It's not like either animal is really hurting itself or can't be doing it for some health reason, it's just really urks some people.
Birds have senses of humor, like a lot of animals do, and when they intentionally do something to annoy you, you know it. Bondi will do this and then look around to see if I'm looking at her, because that is what she wants. And she knows when I really leave vs. when I'm just hiding to see if she will stop anytime soon. It can be bothersome how smart these animals are, can't it?!
However... we have to be strong and not yield... we must not reinforce the obnoxious behaviors! That means if your bird is acting up just to be funny, don't laugh, don't coax, don't reinforce in any way otherwise you're asking for a repeat behavior. It takes all my will power to ignore Bondi when she does this sound, and sometimes I have to just walk away for a while because ultimately it's me she wants the attention from, not anyone else.
If your bird is doing something that really yanks your chain, train it to talk on cue instead. If I carry a clicker around, Bondi won't do this behavior because she's waiting for a cue of something else that will actually get her a reward. Ahhhh, everything always goes back to the root of all problems: training.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.