Meet Rhea, the featherless — but fearless — lovebird who captured hearts around the world.
So what's her story? Rhea was diagnosed with Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), according to her owner Isabella Eisenmann. But regardless of Rhea's lack of feathers and her inability to fly, she is full of spunk and spirit. And while Rhea's condition could be worse — as birds with this particular disease have the potential of losing their beaks and claws — thankfully, Rhea is happy enough when bundled up in a cozy sweater. The only problem? Rhea has a problem finding sweaters small enough to fit her petite frame.
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That's when the knitters, crocheters, and sewing hobbyists of the world stepped in. In fact, her Instagram admirers shower her with gifts like sweaters, capes, hats, even football jerseys, which of course, Rhea wears with a lot of personality. And it's so adorable!
"Acceptance is key," Eisenmann says, "and no matter how different you are physically, you are still beautiful."
This little lovebird lives a full life at home in Boston, Massachusetts with her adopted mother, Eisenmann, and her adopted sister a Yorkie named Nickie. When Rhea is not posing for the camera, she enjoys singing and scampering throughout Eisenmann's home often wearing her various handmade outfits.
Rhea even has fans who like to wear Rhea-inspired illustrated t-shirts printed with the phrase, "Rhea the naked birdie." And if you happen to post a picture of yourself in a Rhea t-shirt or care for an animal with a medical condition, Rhea has her own hashtag for you to post and share your story #nakedandbeautiful. After all, Rhea may have no feathers whatsoever, but she isn't letting that stop her.
Ready to knit a little sweater for Rhea? Watch our video on how to knit a purse stitch: