husband's first contact with Pionus Parrots was 14 years ago, when he saw
a Dusky pair at a breeder's home. He told the breeder at this time, if
they were ever successful in breeding, he would be interested in one of
the babies. He also knew of another breeder who concentrated on Pionus at
that point, but since they're relatively unknown in our area, she switched
to breeding other more "popular" species of birds.
Our first Pionus was a wedding gift (with our consent) from a dear friend
of ours, who breeds White Caps and Blue Headed Pionus. Kringle was a
female White Cap Pionus who's life was cut short by a somewhat unknown
illness. Her witty, loving, outgoing personality captured our hearts.
Three years later, I saw an ad in the paper for a Dusky Pionus. Since my
husband has always been fascinated by Duskys, I contacted the owner
immediately. Sadly, he no longer had time for this Pi and that is why he
was seeking a new home for her. Mistletoe joined our family, December 2001
and adapted rather well to her new family. August 2002, we added our third
Pionus a 4 month old Blue Headed hen named Willow.
Our impression of the Dusky Pionus is they make excellent pets, especially
for the first time bird owner. Mistletoe is relatively quiet, but will
screech when excited or annoyed, sounding a bit like a Conure. She is very
gently and is content to sit with the family for long periods of time.
Missy also enjoys playing on a "boing" her manzanita playgym and prefers
hanging toys to talon toys.
Both our girls are excellent eaters and are eager to try new foods .. not
the least bit food rigid. This makes cooking and dinner time a joy, as
they look forward to sampling what we are serving each evening.
We feel one of their most striking traits is the sweet, musky scent that
everyone comments on when then they first meet them. Mistletoe may not be
have the flashy, bright colored feathers of some other species, but when
the sunlight or the flash from a camera hits her iridescent feathers, the
colors come alive. Although Pionus are not known for the extensive
vocabularies, Mistletoe and Willow both say "step up" and Missy will wolf
whistle when her father comes into sight. When talking their voices have
an electronic sound, which is understandable, but not crystal clear.
When startled or scared, Pionus make a "wheezing" sound, which can be
easily mistaken for a respiratory infection. Willow will many times
"sniff" when we are giving her "scratches," as well. We've noticed that
they're not as bold or as outgoing with strangers or new situations, so
introducing them slowly is important. When given the time to acclimate
themselves, they soon become at ease. Both are quite comfortable with our
dogs and cats (supervised, of course), as well as the rest of our flock.
One quirky behavior my husband and I have witnessed with Mistletoe and
Willow, when they become excited they will throw their heads from left to
right and band their beaks on our hands. This behavior we've only noticed
when handling them.
Neither Mistletoe or Willow are night owls. They are the first parrots in
our flock to go to bed and many times the first to rise. If it becomes
later in the evening and they're out interacting with the family, they
will get a bit nippy or agitated, so we know it's time to retire and put
the girls to bed.
In our opinion, the Pionus Parrots are probably one of the best kept
secrets in the "bird world" and that is why we often say, "perfectly
Pionus," when we are referring to Mistletoe and Willow.