If you have a macaw, you know that macaws can be noisy. Along with cockatoos, macaws are some of the noisiest birds on the planet.
A macaw can emit a shriek or a scream with an intensity of 105 decibels.
That’s louder than a lawnmower, a hair dryer, a blender, most power tools, a snowblower, or an mp3 player at full volume.
It’s about the same intensity as attending a rock concert.
It is not as loud as a gunshot or a jet during takeoff, but it is sufficiently intense to cause damage to your hearing if you listen for 30 minutes straight.
This brings us to some bad news about the noise that a pet macaw can make:
Macaws can be noisy at night, too.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your macaw quieter, if not quiet, so you can get a good night’s rest and keep your sanity.
In this article, we will discuss three ways to keep your macaw calm for quieter nights.
But first, we want you to know why your macaw is a noisy bird, and what your macaw is trying to tell you.
Why Macaws Are Noisy Birds?
Scientists believe that shrieking in birds in the Parrot Family, including macaws, is a lot like laughter in humans. Macaws shriek as a way of communicating positive emotions to other birds.
In the wild, the shriek is the way an adult bird teaches a young bird “This is good” or “Fly over here” or “I found some fruit.”
Macaws fly in flocks of 10 to 30 birds.
They have different shrieks for calling to individual birds in their flock, for warning birds they do not know that they are trespassing on their territory, and to tell other birds to join in on having fun.
When your macaw shrieks at you during the day, it is likely to be telling you “It’s play time! Play with me!”
So, to reduce daytime noise from your macaw, play with your bird. But why would your bird make a ruckus at night?
Also read: Do Macaws Make Good Pets?
What Your Macaw Is Trying to Tell You By Screaming at Night
In nature, macaws are extremely social birds. They live in flocks of 10 to 30 birds in the canopy of the rainforest.
Their high-pitched screams give them a way to communicate with the rest of the flock, doing a kind of roll call at sunrise and sundown and also to warn the flock of predators and mark their territory.
If your macaw is screaming at night, the problem may be that it thinks that the sun has come up.
If you turn on the lights after your bird has settled down for the night, you may trigger 10, 15, or even 30 minutes of “morning” chatter to make sure you have made it through the night.
If you don’t want your macaw to scream at you at night, cover its cage in the early evening (making sure it has enough ventilation for breathing, of course), and don’t turn on the lights until the next morning.
Another reason macaws scream at night is to make “contact calls.” In the pitch black night time tropical jungle, the macaw’s piercing call can travel for hundreds of yards all around to its mate, its fledgling, or its mates in its flock.
When a macaw is awake at night, and missing its companion birds or its humans, it will scream so they can scream back.
But don’t scream at your macaw when it screams at you.
Cover Your Macaw’s Cage at Night
A better approach to keeping your macaw quiet, or at least quieter, at night is to cover its cage every evening, and to remove the cover every morning.
But not just any cage cover will work.
Black plastic may seem like the perfect solution for blocking light.
The problem is that your bird may suffocate if its cage is covered with black plastic.
You need to avoid black plastic or plastic of any kind when covering bird cage.
The same goes for everyday items like trash bags, thin cardboard, cotton sheets, and burlap.
Trash bags, cardboard, and cotton sheets don’t provide enough air flow.
Burlap does not block enough light. Blankets and towels can trap too much heat inside your macaw’s cage.
Rather than trying to improvise something yourself, it is more effective and potentially less harmful to purchase a bird cage cover from a pet supply store.
Look for breathable fabric. It doesn’t have to block 100 percent of ambient light.
It is OK if it filters only part of the light out of the room instead of being completely blacked out (no one expects a moonless night inside either). Make sure the fabric is washable.
You don’t want a cover that is hard to fit over your macaw’s cage. Look for covers with a magnetic buckle that fits the top of the cover. Look for tight clasps on the sides.
Size matters. Make sure the cover is bigger than the cage so it can keep all the light out.
Avoid cotton-polyester blends. They can be toxic to your bird.
Toxicity is one of the most important things to consider when selecting a bird cage cover.
Nylon and polyester are safe choices, but if you go for a cotton-polyester blend, be mindful that it may be treated with formaldehyde, which can be toxic to your bird.
Although not always toxic, formaldehyde from treating polyester can bind to seed ball and dander particles, which may require regular scrubbing or rinsing depending on time constraints.
It’s very important to invest in a bird cage cover that protects your birds from any odors. Macaws and chemicals don’t mix.
If you notice an unusual chemical smell coming from your bird cage cover then immediately return it for a refund or get rid of it completely.
Besides odor protection and the ability to withstand seed dust and dander absorption, your bird cage cover should also have a door for ease of access during book inspection at night.
Finally, make sure the cover for your macaw’s cage is escape proof. The only bird that is louder than a macaw in its cage is a macaw trying to get back inside it!
Also read: Do Macaws Get Along With Other Birds?
Is There Any Way to Choose a Relatively Quiet Macaw?
There is never a guarantee that any particular individual macaw will be quiet.
That’s because each bird has its own personality. Different birds will exhibit different behaviors.
However, there are a few things you can do to try to increase the chances of getting a relatively quiet macaw:
- Choose a species that is known to be relatively quiet. For example, military macaws and red-shouldered macaws are generally quieter than some of the larger, more vocal species like the blue and gold macaw or the scarlet macaw.
- Look for a bird that has been well-socialized and handled regularly. Macaws that have been handled and exposed to a variety of people and environments are often more adaptable and easier to handle than those that have had less socialization.
- Consider adopting an older bird. While young birds are generally more energetic and playful, they can also be more vocal. Older birds may be more settled and less likely to make loud noises.
- Get to know your bird before you buy. When looking for a macaw, try to observe the bird in its living environment to get a sense of its personality and behavior. If the bird is in a noisy environment or is being kept with other birds that are making a lot of noise, it may be more difficult to gauge its typical level of vocalization.
- Finally, keep in mind that all macaws are known for being vocal birds, and it is important to be prepared for some level of noise when owning a macaw. Providing your bird with plenty of mental and physical stimulation can help reduce the chances of excessive vocalization, as can ensuring that it has a comfortable and enriched living environment.
Also read: Do Macaws Need a Companion?
My Macaw Isn’t Making Any Noise – What does it mean?
If your macaw is not making any noise at all, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue.
Or it could be a signal that your bird is under stress. Macaws are generally very vocal birds.
They should be making some noise on a regular basis. A sudden lack of vocalization could be a cause for concern.
There are a number of possible reasons why your macaw might not be making any noise, including:
- Illness: If your macaw is not feeling well, it may be less inclined to vocalize. Some other common symptoms of illness in macaws include loss of appetite and lethargy, in addition to changes in vocalization.
- Stress: Macaws can become stressed for a variety of reasons. Changes in their environment, a lack of interaction with their owners and other birds, or being kept in an inappropriate living environment are the most common. Stress can cause a macaw to become less vocal or to stop vocalizing altogether.
- Aging: As macaws get older, they may become less vocal. This is a normal part of the aging process and is not usually a cause for concern.
If you are concerned about your macaw’s lack of vocalization, call a veterinarian or an avian specialist.
They will examine your bird and determine if there is an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.
In the meantime, try to provide your macaw with a comfortable and enriched living environment.
Make sure that it is getting enough social interaction and mental stimulation.
How do other birds react to macaw noises?
Macaws train other parrots to make the same noises they do.
Macaws are usually friendly birds, but the combination of macaws and other kinds of parrots (including parakeets) can become intolerably noisy.
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