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Understanding Cockatiel Vocalizations

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Despite a cockatiel’s size, it can vocalize a myriad of different sounds that can confuse a first time owner. But it doesn’t vocalize – or scream – just to catch attention or irritate its owner. It does so to communicate about how it feels at the moment: happy, bored, scared, hungry, sleepy, etc. So understanding cockatiel vocalizations is equivalent to understanding the pet’s language, helping an owner respond accordingly.

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Why Are Cockatiels Loud

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It’s a fact, small birds, including cockatiels, have the highest pitch in the avian kingdom. So a cockatiel is loud because that’s how evolution designed it – to become a pretty loud screamer. But, there are only two situations that can trigger a cockatiel to squeal at the top of its lungs: 1.) when it’s cranky and 2.) when it’s happy. Wait, that’s about the only two emotions that cockatiels know… if they’re not happy, they’re cranky. So that means you have to live with your pet’s screaming because it wouldn’t be a cockatiel if it’s quiet most of the time. Maybe pet bird toys could help?

When Are Cockatiels the Loudest

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Cockatiels can scream when they want, wherever they want. But they are most loud every morning when they wake up and every evening just before bed time. Why? Because cockatiels are social animals. They like to chat with the flock before flying off in search of food in the morning and swap stories before sleeping for the night. At least that’s what they do in the wild, and the behavior is carried over in your house treating you as a member of the flock.

Common Cockatiel Vocalizations

1. The Anxiety Yells

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Because cockatiels are social birds, they like to have companion around. In your home, they can treat you as their flock mate aside from their pet bird toys – yes, some cockatiels treat inanimate objects as family. That scream you hear every time you go out to work or pickup the dry cleaning is your cockatiels own anxiety yells. They can yell as if they’ve seen Sylvester on patrol. When you turn around to keep them company, they’ll stop. The worst thing you can do in this case is to give in to your pets’ anxiety yells. You’re condoning your pet’s unwanted behavior if you’ll turn around to keep them company every time they yell… more on “How to Stop Cockatiels Screaming” on other posts.

2. The Happy Chirps, Well They’re Still Loud

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The happy chirps or the ‘tiel songs are normal to cockatiels. These vocalizations are easy to recognize; they’re that mixed tone of high and low pitches and soft and loud chirps. You might notice your birds burst into merry chirps in the morning, evening, when they see you come home from work, or when they see you preparing their meal. Your cockatiels can burst into the happy chirps, too, during playtime with you and their favorite pet bird toys.

3. The Cranky Screams

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Cockatiels are intelligent birds that need constant stimulation – by you or by pet bird toys. Bored cockatiels can go into what can be considered as “’tiel fit.” If your cockatiel starts to throw “fit,” put your ear plugs on and practice that breathing technique your yogi taught you. You need all the patience you can get to survive your cockatiel’s loud screaming and bemused dancing. The cranky screams are wrong. Your ‘tiels need behavior intervention if it likes to throw “fit” as its past time.

4. The Courtship Concerto

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If you have a boy and a girl cockatiel, then watch out for your boy’s courtship concerto during the mating season. Have your camcorder ready to capture your boy’s courtship ritual to try to convince your girl for some cozy time in the nest box with him. The ritual is unique to capture on camera. Just turn that camera off once your ‘tiels are in their love box, will you?

These are the common cockatiel vocalizations you need to be familiar about if you have “fids” (feathered kids). Understanding these vocalizations can help you cultivate a happy, healthy relationship with them.

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