One evening a cockatoo appeared at the kitchen window of our previous house in Menai. He was an ugly bird, bare of many of his feathers, black skin showing. He seemed curious, looking at us through the glass of the window, and we could not help but feel sorry for this unfortunate creature.
Was it a case of mites irritating his skin, driving him to pluck off his feathers? Or a case of OCD? Should we call WIRES? Then he flew off. I thought I saw him once again at the local shopping centre, still alive despite his obvious disability.
The cockatoo's condition remained a mystery until I read an article about Cocky Bennett, a cockatoo who lived to the age of 120 years. Like Cocky Bennett, our ugly bird was probably suffering from Psittacine beak and feather disease, a virus that attacks the feathers, beak and claws of cockatoos and other birds, as well as suppressing their immune systems.
Unfortunately, there is no cure and the bird should have been isolated from its flock.
As the clock ticks over towards midnight and the time approaches when I shall rush up to the top of the driveway to watch the darkness...
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