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Rescue Pionus

binesi

Sitting on the front steps
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3/18/22
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Bonnie S
Hi,

I am brand new here, although I've been lurking on avian avenue for quite a while. I'll jump right in...

For close to a decade, my dream bird has been a Pionus; bronze wing being my favorite, maxi my second favorite, followed by white cap and finally blue head. I have researched them for years and now find myself in a position to care for one. I set out to find the perfect baby Pionus and have run into the reality that there are no (or at least none that I could find) active Pionus breeders in my area (Canada). I reached out to a couple and they told me that they are no longer breeding pionus because the gene pool is too small?

So I gave up my search for a Pionus and set my eyes to my second favorite group, Poicephalus. I'm on two wait lists for a Poicephalus baby - one for a Senegal and one for a Brown Head. I really like the Brown Head and that would be my choice given the opportunity, but there is no guarantee the pair will produce chicks this year, and again, this type is very difficult to find, so the Senegal is more likely to come available.

Now to my question...I have become aware of a Pionus needing rehome through one of my friends. He is unconfirmed male and 10 years old. He is reported to be sweet and friendly with family and strangers and very social. He is not inexpensive, which tells me the current owner knows his worth. Sounds great! When I go to see the bird, how do I confirm he doesn't have any behavioral problems or baggage? During my time lurking on this site, I've seen many posts along the lines of "my bird bites but he's a rehome so..." I keep one bird at a time and I suspect this Pionus would be my last bird (he is only 10 years old), so I want to ensure the best possible relationship. Will I know right away upon meeting him? I am not in a position knowledge or skill wise to rehab a parrot. I would require a lot of help.
 

tka

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It's unlikely that you'll be able to tell from the bird's behaviour. Pionus tend to watch and observe while they're settling in, and therefore it's unlikely that you'll be able to gauge a bird's long term behavioural patterns from a first meeting or even from the first few days or weeks in a new home. They can take a while to decide how they feel about their new flock, and you'd better believe that a Pionus is watching you and figuring out whether you are trustworthy.

I think it's more important to talk to the current owner about their interactions with the bird. Ask about the bird's normal routine, what he does when out of the cage, whether he's target trained and so on. Particularly important is asking whether he's ever been pressured into doing something and what his warning signs are. Pionus tend to have very clear body language and a well-socialised Pi whose signs have always been respected will give you plenty of warnings before going for the bite. A Pi whose warnings have been ignored is more likely to skip them and go straight for the bite.

Typically, a Pionus will escalate through these warning signs:

1) Feathers slicked down, leaning away
2) Moving away
3) Puffed up, hard look in eyes
4) Lunge with an open beak
5) Striking and making contact
6) Hard beaking
7) Biting and drawing blood

As you can see, there are a number of steps before the bite. A Pionus who is used to being listened to will give you these warnings and won't bite out of nowhere unless startled or distressed.
 

binesi

Sitting on the front steps
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Bonnie S
Thank you! These are great questions to ask. I've reached out to the current owner and am awaiting a reply.
 

binesi

Sitting on the front steps
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Bonnie S
The bird is being rehomed due to aggression issues and is already in it's third home. It's very unfortunate and I hope the right owner can be found. Disappointing for sure.
 

MnGuy

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The bird is being rehomed due to aggression issues and is already in it's third home. It's very unfortunate and I hope the right owner can be found. Disappointing for sure.
That's too bad. So the initial information that he was friendly was wrong? What does his aggression involve and how long was in the previous home?
 

tka

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That's a real shame. Do you know anything more about the aggression issues? Sometimes a bird may not get on well in a particular environment but is much calmer and more relaxed in, for example, a quieter household, one with no other birds/pets, one with multiple bird friends, or with a primary caretaker of a different gender.

@Fuzzy worked very hard to overcome Kobe's, her BH pionus, aggression and has great insight into re-shaping interactions into something more positive and rewarding for both parrot and human. If you wanted to take on this bird as a project, you will find plenty of advice and support here.

On the other hand, if this is more than you're willing to deal with or you know that you/your home isn't set up for working through aggression issues, we support you in that too. Sometimes we need to know our limits and not commit to a bird who needs more from us than we can give.
 

binesi

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Bonnie S
To be honest, the conversation was a bit off. At first, he claimed he was rehoming the bird because he was moving and couldn't take it with him. My questions seemed to annoy him a lot but he eventually said he needs to rehome the bird because it is aggressive to other birds. He told me he only had the bird for 3 of it's 10 years. He didn't know if it was male or female, didn't know what breeder it came from or if it was hand fed. He told me he handles it everyday, but couldn't describe what a typical day looks like. The person seemed confrontational and never answered why the first owner gave the bird up. After this painful exchange, he quickly shut me down when I said I have a dog. he didn't inquire about the dog; just a flat out no. But I'm thankful, because in review, the conversation was full of red flags.
 

MnGuy

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To be honest, the conversation was a bit off. At first, he claimed he was rehoming the bird because he was moving and couldn't take it with him. My questions seemed to annoy him a lot but he eventually said he needs to rehome the bird because it is aggressive to other birds. He told me he only had the bird for 3 of it's 10 years. He didn't know if it was male or female, didn't know what breeder it came from or if it was hand fed. He told me he handles it everyday, but couldn't describe what a typical day looks like. The person seemed confrontational and never answered why the first owner gave the bird up. After this painful exchange, he quickly shut me down when I said I have a dog. he didn't inquire about the dog; just a flat out no. But I'm thankful, because in review, the conversation was full of red flags.
Sorry to hear that. I wonder if he’s a bird flipper.

Good luck on your search!
 

binesi

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Bonnie S
Sorry to hear that. I wonder if he’s a bird flipper.

Good luck on your search!
It's very possible. He has two available (because he's moving allegedly). The other one is a difference species.
 

Fuzzy

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:welave: Bonnie! Sorry the conversation you had with the person was difficult, but at least the decision has been made. The right bird for you is out there somewhere! :)
 

binesi

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Bonnie S
Thank you! I believe this too!
 
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