Reading for Moonlight
Have you ever heard of a parrot that could read? Did you know that birds all around the world are learning how to read, just like you and I?

Moonlight was a rare bird called a Palm cockatoo who was one of the very first reading birds on earth!

While her history included performing with a magician in Las Vegas and greeting the public at Parrot Jungle Island, Moonlight retired to live a quiet life with legendary exotic veterinarian, Dr. Susan Clubb, and that’s where Moonlight first began learning how to read.
Jen Cunha from MyReadingPets teaches parrots how to read and communicate as enrichment. She also works on literacy research with animals and universities.
Dr. Clubb invited Jen to teach Moonlight to read, also, and our beautiful feathered friend fell in love with learning.

Moonlight quickly learned all of her colors, and then, with the biggest cockatoo smile ever, jumped into phonics. She learned letter sounds, and then how to blend letters into words, and soon after that, she was reading, too!

Moonlight came to live with Jen so that she could have even more fun school lessons, because she enjoyed learning so much.
At Jen’s house, she met three new bird sisters: Ellie, Isabelle, and Lily.
Moonlight quickly liked her bird sister, Ellie, and they became the best of friends. They enjoyed learning and playing together. The two sisters were inseparable, and where you’d find one, you’d always find the other! They even learned to play card games like Go Fish! together with Jen!

Moonlight continued her lessons at Jen’s house, but loved reading books the very most. Almost every day, she asked Jen to read books together. Moonlight picked out the character’s pictures on each page and appeared to have learned to read the words, too. Her eyes sparkled and she’d touch the pages with big, dramatic swipes of her beak!

If Jen was busy and forgot reading lessons, Moonlight reminded Jen that “every birdie” wanted to read a book! She was the designated “reading advocate” for the family.
Sometimes she’d stand on a pile of books and yell at Jen with her beautiful rainforest voice. Other times, Moonlight followed Jen all around the house, until Jen sat down for school lessons. Then Moonlight smiled again. Mission accomplished!
Reading with her parrots made Jen feel very happy. She loves teaching her birds.

Moonlight’s reading skills included not only sound-text phonics learning, but she appeared to have mastered the ability to learn through reading. Lessons and even scientific research with the birds is always voluntary and fun with lots of treats.

Jen and Moonlight played fun reading comprehension games, and Moonlight constantly astonished Jen with her genius mind! Jen intended to ask Moonlight if she would like to participate in a parrot reading comprehension study that was to begin in the fall.

In July, 2019, however, Moonlight got sick and then she passed away.
Nobody knows where Moonlight was born, and it is believed she may have been captured from the wild. She was at least 36 years old. Her species is vulnerable because humans cut down the trees and mine in her homeland. She’s also rare because many of her species are hunted or captured for trade.
Moonlight was one of the very first reading animals on earth. She taught us that even older birds can learn how to read. She’s also an ambassador to us on behalf of her species, a reminder to love our earth and protect our environment so that her species can return and thrive.

Moonlight’s human friend, Trish Engvalson, is a children’s librarian at an elementary school. She wanted everyone to have the opportunity to know Moonlight the Reading Cockatoo, and to read a book for her.
Here at MyReadingPets, when we think of Moonlight, we imagine she’s across the rainbow bridge and has discovered the library… and she’s reading book after book, grinning her biggest cockatoo smile! As the household reading advocate, we think she would be overjoyed to know that people all over the world are reading a book in her honor.
Grown-ups and children all over the world will remember Moonlight’s legacy through
On September 13, we invite you to join us
by reading a book and remembering our brilliant feathered friend!
If you are part of a school system or club, please feel free to contact us for additional resources, videos, and ideas.

Thank you for remembering her with us!