Cookie, 76, moves behind-the-scenes

November 12, 2009 10:39:45 AM PST
Where do senior-citizen cockatoos go to retire? At 76-years old, Cookie the cockatoo has had his fill of fans at Brookfield Zoo. So the bird has moved behind-the-scenes, where he's keeping company with the zookeepers.

Cookie had been a permanent fixture in the birdhouse since the zoo opened in 1934.

"We took Cookie into retirement because he was getting real stressed when we took him from his holding enclosure from behind the scenes onto exhibit. He would get real stressed out and we thought that at his advanced age that it was probably better if we went and gave him time to spend with ... in the back ... with the people he really enjoys," said Tim Snyder, Brookfield Zoo curator of Birds and Reptiles.

Now, instead of facing the crowds and noise out front, Cookie is living the good life of his golden years and this world's oldest living cockatoo in captivity is in the pink.

"He's going great. He's interacting with the keepers very well ... enjoying his time off," said Valyn Dall, birdhouse keeper.

"He has the general age related ailments ... osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and we're working with him on that," said Snyder.

Instead of screaming school kids, Cookie now gets to play "rip the peanut from the paper bag."

"He likes to shred things. We take like food items and we put them in a bag and?" said Dall.

"Is he coming after me?" said ABC7's Frank Mathie.

"No ... he's just playing," said Dall.

Cookie may be off exhibit, but the cockatoo will still make a few special appearances throughout the year.


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