News Release

June 20, 2012
Contact: Sondra Katzen
Public Relations


Note: Images of Cookie Cockatoo at Brookfield Zoo may be downloaded at

Brookfield Zoo’s Cookie Cockatoo Celebrates 79th Birthday
Makes Public Appearance for His Special Day

Brookfield, IL—Cookie, a Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, will be making his yearly public appearance at Brookfield Zoo on Saturday, June 30, in celebration of his 79th birthday.
At 10:30 a.m., bird lovers can flock to the zoo’s Reptiles and Birds exhibit (formerly called Perching Bird House) and join zoo staff just outside the building’s entrance to greet Cookie and sing a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday.” That’s when he will be presented with a muffin-size birthday cake filled with some of his favorite foods, including carrots, apples, bananas, raisins, and eggs (including the shells for calcium).

Also attending Cookie’s birthday bash will be representatives from The Avicultural Society of Chicagoland (TASC), an association of individuals with the common interest of providing a better life for birds both in their natural and domestic environments.

Since 2009, Cookie has been off exhibit enjoying his golden years and spending quality time with his keepers. “Cookie’s health over the past year has been good,” said Tim Snyder, curator of birds for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the zoo. “Earlier this spring Cookie had some sinus issues, just like many people have at that time of year, but he is doing better. We are happy once again to be able to give Cookie’s fans the opportunity to see him on his birthday.”

Since Cookie arrived at the zoo in 1934, millions of guests have seen him. The charismatic pink cockatoo has become one of the zoo’s most famous animals. He even has acquired quite a loyal fan base affectionately called “Cookie’s groupies,” who come specifically to see him. In addition, Cookie regularly receives fan mail and toys from his many admirers.

Cookie is well beyond the average life span for his species. He arrived at Brookfield Zoo at the age of 1 from Taronga Zoo in Australia. It is believed that he is the world’s oldest living Major Mitchell’s cockatoo in professional care. Currently, there are approximately 124 Major Mitchell’s cockatoos in zoos or other facilities worldwide. Only 14 North American zoos, including Brookfield Zoo, have this species in their animal collections. According to a reference in the Encyclopedia of Life, the median life span for this species in a zoo setting is between 40 and 60 years.

The Chicago Zoological Society’s mission is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.

# # #