Dear Parrot Lover,
Training your parrot to whistle is about the same as training your parrot to talk. The main ingredient in this so-called secret recipe is simple repetition. Generally speaking, in the wild, parrots are extremely social creatures and love to communicate with each other by making a variety of different chirps and squawks. This innate desire doesn’t just go away because your parrot is raised in a home.
Instead, it will be up to you as your parrot’s flock leader, to continue to emulate your parrot’s natural surroundings. This can be done by socializing your parrot at a young age and teaching him certain socially-approved skills such as obeying commands and even talking.
But not every parrot owner desires a parrot that talks. In these cases, parrots can be taught how to whistle instead. The great thing here, is that it is oftentimes easier for a parrot to learn to whistle before he learns to talk. And once a parrot has become comfortable with whistling and is confident of his new skills as a whistler, he will whistle as a means of communication with you.
There are five simple steps to training your parrot to whistle:
1. Create a safe space for your parrot in which you can be guaranteed to have his undivided attention. This goes the same for you: make sure that your parrot has your undivided attention as well. No distractions. This chosen space should be quiet with no interference from televisions, radios, or other household pets and family members.
2. Once your parrot has settled down in the safe space you have created, make sure that you make eye contact with him to hold his attention. Whistle your chosen tune while maintaining eye contact with your parrot. It is quite crucial that your parrot immediately understands that you are attempting to direct your whistle to him, i.e. that you are communicating with your parrot via this unique sound.
3. All parrots learn best when their training is repeated to them. This holds especially true with training your parrot to whistle. You must repeat the chosen tune over and over again. Make sure you are repeating the whistle using the same tones all the time.
4. Once your training session is over for the day, continue whistling the tune whenever you can, especially when you are interacting with your parrot. When your parrot is confident enough, he will then attempt to repeat the whistle by himself.
5. Now you are ready to teach your parrot to associate your chosen whistle with a chosen activity. Before you give your parrot a treat next time, whistle your chosen whistle. Over time your parrot will recognize that whenever he hears that whistle, he will get a wonderful treat from you.
Birds just like chatting
Parrots and other bird species love to talk and make a variety of noises. It comes quite naturally to them as a form of communication both with other birds and with humans. While this can become an annoying habit sometimes, particularly if your bird begins to vocalize loudly for attention, it can also be a great way to communicate and bond with your bird.
Birds use sounds to communicate with other flock members. It helps them locate members of the same flock, and parent birds communicate with baby birds using unique sounds. In the absence of other birds your pet bird will want to attempt to communicate with you too, and he may attempt to mimic words or sounds you make in a similar way he would with other birds.
Not every bird is alike
Some species of birds are more naturally inclined for certain types of noises. For example, many think that the cockatiel is a natural for singing and whistling which means they are excellent at repeating different tunes they might hear. Amazon parrots and African Greys are well known for their ability to repeat words and some can even sing with words included. They often develop larger vocabularies because of this natural inclination.
Teaching birds to vocalize
Teaching your bird to speak is often one of the first things someone wants to do with their pet bird. It’s a neat trick and can be a fun bonding experience too. It can also be a gateway to wanting to train your bird to do other things.
There are a few things to consider:
1. Be realistic in your goals. Consider what type of bird you have and start with something easy that comes more naturally for your bird species.
2. Make it fun and easy. Training isn’t supposed to be hard! Keep training very simple for your bird and always keep it positive.
3. Reward any attempts your bird makes. It might not be the full whistling song or words you expected, but your bird is trying so be sure to reward any of these attempts. He’ll get there!