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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dear Community,

With gratitude to be able to reach out and have some great feedback...

My three-year-old male cockatiel - Halo - is consistently chirping single monotonal chirps, fast and slow, until I look at him. Then he stops. He's been doing this for about a year now, randomly. Lately, its all day, every day and we're COVID housebound & I am working from home. I'm owning up here too, loving him so much, I have given him more than enough attention since I got him (10weeks old), and now, it feels like anytime I don't pay attention, the behavior happens. So frustrated and at tears-point which sucks.

We have two rooms in our house (lounge and bed) and nowhere else to go. He has toys, tends to stick to favorites despite toy-rotation, paper to chew, grit to forage in, hiding toys etc. A few days ago, he masturbated whilst we were playing a game, then this morning he bit me when I went to kiss him. This is unusual and shocking. He's bitten me maybe three times in three years.

I'm thinking of taking his wings shorter, (he can partially fly now), so that he can play on the floor (he generally won't go on the floor at all) & come with me around the house a bit & maybe it will chill him out. The other thing was perhaps putting him to bed (which I have right now) in the middle of the day. Additionally, when I have secure circumstances, moving to a bigger place and getting another pet so there are three of us.

Could anyone offer some appreciated wisdom here? Thank you.

Suzie
:pied:
 

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Hi Suzie
Sorry to hear that things are so difficult at the moment with your lovely bird. There is a lot of information out there and on talk cockatiels about the topics you have raised so i will just give a few thoughts on what might be happening and where to go for help.

Firstly you said that he makes more noise now and this increased when you paid attention to him. This is a classic situation. We humans often inadvertently reinforce behaviours in our birds that we don't want. You are best to pay attention only to behaviours that you want to increase and ignore behaviours you want to reduce. This is because paying attention reinforces the behaviour ie noise that happened immediately before. Once you have reinforced a behaviour multiple times it is difficult to stop it. If you now start to ignore the noise, your bird will make more noise and more noise and even more noise to get his reinforcement which is your attention. So even if he ramps up the noise you will need to ignore it until eventually it stops. This is called an extinction burst. The noise will eventually stop if you do a good job of ignoring ie don't look at him or talk to him or come into the room or yell at him to stop when he is making a noise. You might have to try earplugs as you are going through this period of extinction. You must though, pay attention and reinforce him for being quiet. He still needs lots of love and attention, but not when he is being noisy or bitey.

Secondly, the biting may be due to an increase in hormones as he is about the right age. So as well as avoiding reinforcing that behaviour you might want to think about reducing hormonal behaviour. You can do that by increasing darkness hours. Are you making sure he gets 9hrs or more of complete darkness at night? Try to reduce places where he can masterbate. So remove the toy he does it on. Make sure there are no places he can nest in ie small boxes etc. This is not always possible as birds sometimes use just a corner in the cage to exhibit nesting behaviour ie tail goes up, he backs into a corner and he gets aggressive, but reduce opportunities if you can.

I'm not sure that wing clipping, day sleeping or getting another pet are likely to help with these problems.

To get further information on managing noisy birds and hormonal behaviour you could look on the Good bird website. It has a lot of information on these topics. There are are even videos and courses on this. Barbara Heidenreich is a respected bird trainer.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Dear Tielwoman,

My gratitude for your feedback is immense. Thank you. I understand some of my reactions too (wing clipping/dog/day sleeping) were desperation thoughts. I'm looking at Good Bird and taking onboard the advice. It's funny that you mentioned the noise will get louder, he literally yells like a teenager now, knowing that it will stop helps alot! I'll stay focused and disciplined with him. It's shown me even more how much I love having him and care for him. With appreciation to you.
 
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