He walks deliberately about the floor of the enclosure, foraging for tidbits dropped by the birds above. His impressive black beak searches out the nuts while disregarding the less desirable pellets. Watching this Moluccan cockatoo engage in natural, foraging behavior wouldn’t be noteworthy or remarkable in any way if it wasn’t for the fact that, three years ago, he was completely blind.
Magoo was one of nine parrots rescued from a Texas breeding ranch auction in October of 2010 in a collaborative rescue effort between Foster Parrots and Virginia veterinarian, Dr. Kim Danoff. Like all of the birds we received from that auction, Magoo arrived with serious health issues, not the least of which were mature cataracts in both of his eyes. Blind, defenseless and terrified, Magoo clung to the perceived safety of his cardboard box, lunging and posturing compulsively against invisible or imagined threats. Without sight and in light of his deep distrust and fear of humans, Magoo had no chance of achieving any level of quality in his life.
An examination by veterinary ophthalmologist , Dr. Kenneth Abrams of Warwick, Rhode Island, revealed that acute retinal damage in Magoo’s left eye was irreversible, but Magoo’s right eye was, in fact, eligible for cataract surgery. A campaign was launched to raise money to pay for the surgery. On May 10, 2012 four boarded veterinary specialists gathered at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists, Inc. in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, to perform cataract surgery on this old, wild caught cockatoo who had not had use of his eyes for many, many years. Present were Dr. Kenneth Abrams, NEEWS head veterinarian, Dr. Hank Wietsma, and OSVS resident veterinarians Dr. Lucy Spelman, and Dr. Julie Decubellis. Post surgery examinations confirmed a positive outcome and a smooth healing process.
The improvement in the quality of Magoo’s life has been dramatic. While he still enjoys the security of a box, his world has expanded drastically as he makes use of his entire 25' x 15' environment, traveling between the 6 or 8 different boxes that have been provided for him, foraging casually for nuts and treats, and regarding his Moluccan cockatoo friend, Bebe, with only mild interest as Bebe joyfully bops about the enclosure around him. With four other Moluccan cockatoos perched on the branches above, Magoo is in every way a member and participant in this dynamic avian community. Knowing where Magoo came from and understanding the hopelessness and horror inherent in standard parrot mills, we are grateful to have had the chance to transform the life of this extraordinary creature.
Magoo would like to express his gratitude, once again, to the amazing veterinary team who worked to restore his sight, and to “The Crazy Bird Ladies”, a wonderful group of avian advocates who were instrumental in raising the funding that made Magoo’s cataract surgery possible.
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