That's a really good point about the nicotine from the owners hands causing plucking. She is a plucker. I know that a bird can stop this behavior and often the feathers grow back (unless the shaft is too far damaged). Did the 'too's feathers grow back? I'm thinking she was very neglected (by her condition and the previous cages condition) and that's why she plucked. However, nicotine damage is a strong possibility. We are going to see her again tomorrow. Hopefully she'll have settled in and we can interact with her. I definitely wouldn't jump into taking her just because she has a sad story. This is a huge decision that will affect her and our lives. We interacted with our B&G macaw for about 6 weeks before we made the forever commitment. We have the room and the means to welcome another beak into our home. Wouldn't even consider it if we didn't.
Thanks for the advice. Keep it coming if anyone has anything else to share. I really appreciate it.
Sounds like you're not going to jump into a decision lightly, so that's great. I'm sure you'll make the right decision based on what is best for you, your family and your current flock.
Our M2's feathers have never grown back. I think he did too much damage to the follicles. He's a cutie though and looks like a little old man :-)