Blondie’s name was a perfect fit for him in the beginning. He was covered in bright yellow feathers, and his Escobar family in Venezuela loved him for that.

But slowly, that started to change. The name, not the love.

His feathers started falling and the poor lovebird started going bald.

“He wasn’t flying as he used to, leading him to fall a lot,” Isabella Escobar, Blondie’s sister, said. “I thought it was odd, but my parents said that he was just going through a phase.”

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But it was when he started going bald from legs to wings that the family finally took him to a vet. The diagnosis was as strange as the situation. Blondie was purposefully plucking his own feathers.

“The doctor told us that he was stressed and that’s why he was losing a lot of feathers, but my mom and I didn’t believe it,” Escobar said. “He was losing feathers on his head and it is impossible for a bird to take feathers from his own head.”

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Even though his family wanted to help him, they came up empty-handed when it came to solutions. But one day, that changed.

Escobar was scrolling through his Instagram when he saw a bird that looked exactly like Blondie, Rhea the naked bird.

A disease called psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) had caused her to lose her feathers.

Even though Rhea was miles away, she helped Escobars realize that there were many birds like Blondie. As the Escobars looked into her, they found many solutions, insights, and care-ways for Blondie.

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“We read every single article we could find about the disease on the internet because none of the veterinarians knew about the disease and didn’t know how to treat Blondie,” Escobar said. “Thanks to Rhea, we had an idea of how to properly take care of him. As his skin is really dry we use coconut oil or Vaseline to moisturize it, and we give him a lot of vitamins in his food.”

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Witnessing Blondie slowly become unable to fly was heartbreaking for the Escobars. “I feel like the worst thing that a bird can go through is to lose their feathers and for them not to realize it,” Escobar said. “It was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve had to see. So I tried to entertain Blondie by showing him toys and other places around the house that he could go without using his wings and he totally loved them.”

Blondie needs a lot of attention and love right now. He gets cold even on warmer days but doesn’t want to wear clothes. But there was one thing that brought him solace–his stuffed toys.

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It has been 3 years since his existence in the world, and he’s grown to adjust into his new life. He accompanies his family all the time, sometimes his mom in the kitchen, sometimes his sister when she’s doing her homework. The Escobars are using social media to generate awareness about the disease that Blondie suffers from, PBFD.

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“To us, Blondie is a warrior who always lights our day every time we see him,” Escobar said. “He showed us that you should love with all of your heart every animal no matter their appearance.”

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