Christie's Bird Links
A screaming bird is probably the most common problem after taming. Birds are intelligent creatures, and will quickly train their owners. Fortunately, this can be fixed, usually by just making a few changes in your reaction to them. The following links are very helpful if your bird has become a screamer.
Lucky for you, your bird doesn't actually hate you. It doesn't know you, and is frightened. Remember, birds are a prey animal, and we look like a predator with our forward facing eyes. There are several things you can do, starting with the first day to help your bird feel more comfortable in your presence.
First, make sure your bird's cage is off the floor, on a table so he/she can see what is going on around the room. Place this table near a wall, so the bird has a safety zone. You may even want to cover 3/4 of the cage with a light sheet to help calm the bird.
Next, leave it alone for a while. Just go about your normal day. You can vocalize what you are doing, so the bird gets used to the sound of your voice. This will also help you learn your bird's comfort levels with you in the room.
After that, for the next several days/weeks (depending on the bird), just spend time talking to the bird from a chair in the room. Make sure your bird is comfortable with the distance you are at. If the bird acts frightened (slicked back feathers, jumpy, or if it has a crest, the crest sticking straight up) move back in the room until the bird calms down. When you find this distance, read out loud to the bird. It doesn't matter what you read, this is acclimating the bird to your presence still. As the bird is more comfortable with your presence, move closer until you can read out loud right next to the cage. After each of these sessions, end with praise such as "Good bird" or something similar. When you can sit next to the cage, you can even put a treat such as a piece of millet in the cage as a training reward.
At this point, when the bird is used to your presence, you can start offering treats through the cage bars. Make the bird come to you to eat the treat. Keep these sessions no more than 15 minutes, and always end on a good note with a treat in the food dish, if the bird ate from you or not.
After the bird is used to coming to your fingers through the bars for a treat, start offering the treat inside the cage from your hand. Keep the treat on the end of your fingers, and keep your hand flat and still, again, make the bird come to you. Keep these sessions at no more than 15 minutes and end on the positive note.
When the bird is used to coming up to your hand, in a small room you can start working on stepping up. Most birds will do this naturally. You can offer your finger, or if you are afraid, offer a perch that you are holding. Hold it at chest level right in front of the bird and say "Step up". They don't know what the words mean yet, but they will learn by association when they step up onto the perch, and you say the words what is expected. At first work inside the cage, if the bird runs from you, go back to the previous step. After your bird steps up in the cage, open the door and allow them to come out on their own to explore. You can work on step up training outside the cage at this point. Still end on a positive note!
When your bird is comfortable on your hand, you need to make a decision on where you will allow your bird to sit on you. I allow arm, shoulder, hand, and when I'm seated, my legs. I never allow them on my head. Many people don't allow their birds on their shoulder, and this is fine. Just be consistent with what you allow, and ask others to do the same.
Christie's Bird Links