How to Keep a Pet Bird Quiet

Three Methods:Training Your BirdChanging His EnvironmentMaking Sure Your Bird Is Happy

Birds can be excellent companions, but they can also make a lot of noise. Sometimes that noise is inevitable, but there are a few steps you can take to train your bird out of excessive or incessant squawking.

Method 1
Training Your Bird

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    Understand bird behavior. Most birds tend to make some noise, either by singing or squawking. Birds tend to be most vocal during waking hours in the morning and before going to sleep in the evening. Some birds are more prone to making noise than others, but understand before bringing home a bird that some noise will be inevitable.[1]
    • Cockatoos are considered one of the most vocal species of birds. Though their vocalizations are typically limited to morning and evening time, they are widely held to be the loudest birds one can own as a pet.[2]
    • Macaws also tend to be very loud, but their vocalizations are usually most prominent in the morning and evening, much like cockatoos.[3]
    • Conures are prone to loud, piercing calls, but typically are most vocal when making "contact" calls to owners, rather than being "chatty" throughout the day.[4]
    • Cockatiels, budgerigars, lovebirds, and parrotlets are known to be vocal throughout the entire day. If you're interested in getting a bird that won't make too much noise, consider avoiding these birds.[5]
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    Don't reward squawking. Every time you react to a bird's incessant squawking, regardless of species, it reinforces in your bird's mind that his annoying behavior will help him attain the attention he desires. Bird owners reward squawking by showering a vocal bird with affection, or even by running into the room and yelling for him to stop. It will be hard at first, but over time, ignoring your bird's squawking will train him out of this attention-seeking behavior.[6]
    • Leave the room when your bird begins to act out.
    • Do not return to the room until he has stopped squawking or screaming.
    • Return once your bird has been silent for at least ten seconds.
    • Give him praise and reward him with a treat to show him that not making noise will earn him your affection.
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    Teach your bird to speak softly. Praise your bird when he whistles or whispers, instead of squawking or yelling. This may be especially useful for parrots, as it will be easier to teach soft-spoken words rather than sounds.[7]
    • Do not raise your voice in response to your bird's volume or tone.[8]
    • Speak softly whenever you address your bird, and whenever you're around him.[9]
    • Praise your bird every time he lowers his voice to match yours.
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    Reward good behavior. If your bird currently has a vocal range that is an acceptable volume, offer your bird food or toys as a reward whenever he uses that vocal range. Over time, he will come to associate that vocal range with whatever you choose to reward him with.[10]
    • Always praise good behavior immediately. If any time passes between his action and your reaction, he may not associate the two.
    • Any time your bird yells or speaks loudly, you should temporarily stop showing him affection and leave the room immediately.
    • Use a distinct "reward" treat. Find out what your bird really likes, and save those treats for training purposes. It may give your bird the extra motivation he needs to follow your lead.

Method 2
Changing His Environment

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    Turn out the lights. Some birds feel over-stimulated when exposed to too much sunlight. As a general rule, birds exposed to more than 12 hours of light each day can have elevated hormone levels, aggressive behavior, and increased noise output.[11]
    • Close the curtains in the afternoon to limit sunlight exposure, and put a sheet or cover over your bird's cage when you go to bed.
    • Make sure there's enough air flow coming in under the sheet you use.
    • Do not use polyester, as this fabric does not breathe well.
    • For best light-blocking abilities, use a black cloth.
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    Keep the noise down. Some birds respond to environmental sound with their own sound. If you're watching television or listening to music at home, keep it at a relatively low volume. Once your bird becomes accustomed to a quieter home environment, he may become a calmer, quieter bird.[12]
    • Talk quietly. Birds will often quiet down to hear what you are saying.
    • Never yell at your bird. Try to avoid talking loudly or excitedly around him as well.
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    Avoid quick movements. It's possible that you or someone in your household is moving too quickly around your bird, causing him to feel anxious or over-stimulated. Move slowly around your bird, and encourage everyone else in your household to do the same.[13]
    • If you have children living at home, teach them not to run through the room your bird is in.
    • Never let children handle your bird without strict supervision.
    • Teach everyone in your household to handle the bird gently, and to avoid quick or jarring movements around him.
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    Take note of his reactions. A bird will notice subtle differences in how his owner looks and acts. It's possible that your bird is distressed by the sight of certain new physical characteristics of you or your family.[14]
    • Seemingly minor changes like wearing a hat, wearing certain types of eyewear, or even wearing certain colors can upset your bird.
    • Avoid wearing whatever upsets your bird, or expose him to it slowly and gradually so he becomes used to it.

Method 3
Making Sure Your Bird Is Happy

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    Rule out health problems. If your bird is feeling ill or in pain, he may be squawking to let you know about his ailment. This is especially pertinent if your bird has started screaming or squawking recently, but doesn't normally behave that way. Take your bird in to the vet for a proper examination, and be sure to check that your bird has enough food and water when he gets noisy.[15] Other common signs of a serious health problem include:
    • Sudden changes in appetite[16]
    • Difficulty standing or maintaining balance[17]
    • Changes in stool color or consistency[18]
    • A disheveled, ruffled appearance.[19]
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    Give your bird playtime and exercise. Some birds squawk and scream when they're bored or feeling neglected. While you don't want to reward negative behavior with attention, your bird may just need other outlets for his energy.[20]
    • Try giving your bird a jungle gym for his cage. This will allow him to exercise and play whenever he wants to.[21]
    • Leave toys in his cage. Birds like to feel stimulated, and may respond well to having toys, especially those that have food hidden inside and require your bird to figure out how to get the food.[22]
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    Change up your bird's toys. If your bird is prone to boredom but responds well to toys, it's possible your bird needs new stimuli on a regular basis. Changing up his toys every few weeks may provide your bird with the stimulation he needs.[23]
    • Birds love colorful toys. If the toy makes sounds, it will be even more desirable to your bird.[24]
    • Give your bird some sort of puzzle-based toy. Birds love mental and physical challenges, and odds are your bird will appreciate having something to stimulate his creativity.[25]
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    Calm your bird when he's anxious. Try cradling your bird underneath your shirt, if he is small enough to fit. Having added warmth and physical contact can often help calm a loud, upset bird.[26]
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    Give your bird reassurance. Birds in the wild participate in "flock calls" as a way of communicating with other birds and ensuring the safety of the flock. If your bird is prone to squawking when you leave the room, it could be his attempt at sending you a flock call. Try squawking back at him from the other room to let him know where you are and reassure him that you're safe.[27]


  • Research the bird species you're interested in getting before you take a bird home. Knowing in advance whether your potential bird is prone to excessive noise may affect your decision when you're picking out your pet at the store.
  • Get earplugs or shift to a room where you cannot hear the bird while sleeping in the early morning hours.
  • Keep your bird's immediate environment as dark as possible at night and in the early morning.
  • Let everyone else in your home know when and where your bird is sleeping. If your brother/sister comes running and screaming into the room, your bird will wake up and may react with his own noise.
  • Try to make sure the bird can't hear the birds chirping outside. Often, they will chirp in return to try and get another bird's attention, especially if not tame.


  • Do not use a covered cage as a response every time. Use it at night, or when you're trying to sleep in the morning. Keeping the bird covered all the time can make him unsocialized and neurotic.
  • Although it can be annoying, drastic measures should not be used. It's a bird -- Talking is what birds do!
  • Do not hit your bird or throw anything at the cage.
  • Covering birds for long periods of time can have other negative effects, such as increasing the frequency and audible levels of normal vocalization. As the main form of communication between birds (who think in a flock mentality) is vocalization, trying to hinder "normal" vocalizations (which just happen to be more frequent in the morning and at dusk) can be socially harmful, which can in turn lead to physical harm. Birds that are not allowed appropriate time to behave as birds can turn to other ways to get attention, such as feather plucking and being aggressive towards other birds and humans.

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Categories: General Bird Care