Oscar The Featherless Bird
When Oscar was diagnosed with beak and feather disease, she was given only six months to live. Over a decade later, she has become an inspiration to many.
Oscar is a 35 year old Molucan Cockatoo, also know as a Salmon-crested Cockatoo. She was discovered by authorities during a drug raid and was then moved to a wildlife center. When veterinarians there realized that she had beak and feather disease, Oscar was transferred to the Broward County Humane Society in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she resides today.
Beak and feather disease is caused by virus that attacks the cells of the immune system and the cells that produce the feathers, beak and claws. The virus can be found in an infected bird’s feather dust and fecal matter which can make it highly contagious.
Initially the feathers are brittle and fracture easily. The feather follicle becomes damaged causing irritation until eventually the bird stops producing feathers all together. When affected, the beak can grow abnormally long, develop cracks and become deformed due to areas of necrotic or dead cells. Sometimes the beak can break making it extremely difficult for the bird to feed. Since the disease also attacks the immune system, an infected bird can be very susceptible to secondary bacterial, viral or fungal infections.
Despite the odds Oscar has survived and has now become a great example that real beauty comes from within.