Who's a pretty... er, Oscar the bald cockatoo shows that birds of no feathers can still be quit tweet
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 10:59
City Parrots in Cacatua moluccensis - Salmon-crested Cockatoo, Disease, Rescue

Ruffled - um - feather: Oscar the bald Moluccan cockatoo peers curiously at the camera from her Florida home

Sadly for Oscar, her answer to 'Who's a pretty boy' is - well - not her.

Sporting only four plumes of feathers, Oscar the Moluccan cockatoo, who is in fact a girl, seems oblivious to her almost complete baldness.

Fortunately, the 35-year-old feather-challenged bird lives in the sunny climes of Florida, where the temperature, at least, is forgiving.

Living with Cherie Wachter, at the Humane Society of Broward County, Oscar has become a fixture in the reception area of the centre over the past 13 years.

'She has become part of the family and is very particular about who she becomes friends with,' said Cherie.

'Of course when people first see her when they walk in they are taken aback, but they soon realise that despite her appearance she is quite a happy bird.'

Oscar was taken in by the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, centre 13 years ago after she was recovered during a local drugs raid.

However, it quickly became apparent that she was suffering from a condition that affects birds called Beak and Feather.

'Her disease caused her immune system to become repressed,' said Cherie.

'It is contagious and therefore she can't be around other birds. Another side-affect is that she plucks her own feathers because they irritate her so much. That is why she is bald.'

Given only six months to live by the centre's vets, Oscar defied their medical opinion and is still going strong today, albeit short of a full covering of feathers.

'She has a couple of growths on her face and one each round her head and neck,' said Cherie.

Despite her appearance, Oscar feels no need to beg for affection. 'She is fussy with her friends and chooses carefully who she lets near her,' Cherie said.

She will say stuff like 'who's a pretty boy?' and 'I love you' which is really cute. And one of my favourite things is when she sits on my arm and relaxes.'


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