I did not know whether to put this in small or large parrots, but there are fewer threads under large parrots, so I went with this. If that was the wrong choice, please move this.
I am very desirous of adding 1
additional mid-sized bird to my flock. (Don't tell, but I've decided 6 total birds is my maximum, 2 mid-sized, and I currently have only 1 of those, and up to 4 small birds, of which I currently have 3, but that is another story all together.) I thought I had decided that this mid-sized bird would be a crimson bellied conure. The local bird store that I love will most likely have crimson bellieds hatched in the spring, and if they do, I would be able to play with the baby from the time it was tiny. I do enjoy doing that.
However, I have recently become enamoured with the dusky pionus. I have actually never seen a dusky pionus in person, so it might not be what I think it is. I love the pictures I have seen and the description of the colors. I also like the size, which is said to be around 200 grams. However, I can not find any dusky pionus close enough to visit, and I have looked for years. They don't seem to be bred in this area.
I have seen and handled, though never owned, a white capped, a maximillian, and a bronze wing. All of these birds have been very gentle. The only reason I prefer a dusky over any of these other pionus is the color.
I don't mind driving long distances to get what I really want. I have made full day trips to get dogs and llamas in the past, and I have found a dusky breeder online who is several hours away, but doable in a one-day trip, although I would drive and stay over night if I had to in order to get the bird I really want. I also have shipped animals in the past, and I don't have a problem with that either.
However, never having actually seen or handled a dusky, even though I THINK that is what I really want, how can I be certain. Also, I have come to recognize the great advantage of having been able to play with my birds A LOT in the bird store before selecting them to join my flock. If I drove such a distance to get a bird, even if there were a few in a clutch to choose from, I would not have that possibility. Additionally, I would most likely have to have paid for a dusky to hold it until it weaned, because they are rare and seem to be sold even before they are hatched, so really I would not be able to come home without the bird no matter what happened when I met it.
My local bird store now has a 12 year old Maximillian pionus. She was a pet and then a breeder. Her mate recently died, and so they are looking for a pet home for her. She is gentle beyond comparison. She is trustworthy around kids, even little kids. She will go to anyone. She is potty trained. She will allow herself to be petted for long periods of time, and she doesn't even try to eat my buttons! The only bad habit I know she has is that she imitates larger and louder birds - obnoxious birds! I think they have her priced a bit high for a twelve year old Maximillian pionus, but I might be able to negotiate for a bit less. They worked with me on the price of both Roni, my senegal, and Elisa, my linnie, because they had been in the store a long time.
I had thought for some time that an older pionus might be the best choice for me. I am 51, and a pionus can live a very long time. Additionally, when you add an older bird, you know what you are getting. A baby bird can change a great deal as it ages.
I have been thrilled with the addition of our "older" linnie. She was only a bit more than 18 months when she came home, but that seemed pretty old to me for a bird who was only supposed to live about 10 years. It has been wonderful not to have to go through all of those tricky young developmental stages that we've gone through, and are still going through, with the other three birds.
I lookrd into finding an older dusky pionus. However, whenever I've found any in rescues, they always come with issues, and these issues have been serious problems in getting along with other birds.
So now I am trying to decide between 4 possibilities:
1) a newly hatched crimson bellied conure, which they should have in the spring (I know I would love a crimson bellied conure, but it would probably be too small to ever let it out with Roni and too large to let it out with my little guys, so I would have another bird I would have to have out all by itself, and I would rather have one I can have out with at least one of my current birds. I REALLY don't want to add another "group" to the mix. Right now I have three, but I expect to be able to get that back down to two very soon. Three is pushing it. Four would be impossible.)
2) a dusky pionus for which I would have to travel several states away and which I would have to select sight unseen (The drawback I see to this is the unknown. I wouldn't know the bird. I wouldn't know the seller. It could turn out to be a bird I'd have to have out of its cage all by itself, too, and it could turn out to have horrible habits. Additionally, the only two reasons I THINK I want a dusky over a Maximillian are the colors and the smaller size. I might not even like the colors better once I see them, and, although the size of the Maximillian is definitely much larger, I know from handling her that the Maxi isn't too big for me to handle.)
3) a twelve year old Maximillian who has proven herself to be very sweet and whom I could even try out around Roni before I made the decision (The drawbacks here are that she is known to imitate obnoxiously loud birds and she is not really the colors I am looking for)
4) another pionus that the local bird store could get for me later, most likely what they could get would be a bronze wing, but if I wait for any pionus they can get in the store I would be able to play with it while it is being hand-fed (The drawbacks here are that it still would not be a Dusky, which is what I really want, and, as with any baby bird, its personality could later develop into something less than desirable. However, it does have a better chance of being able to be out with Roni than would a crimson bellied conure.)
Now that I put all this down it seems to me the 12 year old Maxi in the store is the best choice, and I really, really like her personality.
When I selected Roni, I wanted a Meyers. The store couldn't guarantee they could get Meyers any time soon, and I fell quite in love with Roni herself. I made the committment to purchase her because I knew her. Within three weeks their Meyers went to nest! (It was the first time they had ever bred.) They have had six Meyers come through that store since I committed to purchase Roni.
I have played with most of them, and for a time I really thought I might go ahead and get a Meyers as my second mid-sized bird, but I have since decided it would be too similar to Roni, and I want her to have her own spot.
I am certain if I commit to the Maxi within a very short time the store will get a Dusky. They got a cobalt linnie in right after I selected Roni, too, which was exactly the other dream bird I had wanted. I did go ahead and bring home the blue linnie, but I am pretty sold on the fact that two pionus are just out of the question for me (unless - there does remain the outside chance that my daughter might asks me for a pionus for herself. This Maxi is definitely able to be a kid's bird.
I write all of this because I don't have anyone else to talk these things over with, and even just putting them down helps me think and decide. If you have any ideas, I would appreciate hearing them.