Friday, April 20, 2007

"I'll Have The Usual."

We have some big birds with big appetites. Right now the 20 gentoo and macaroni penguins are gobbling up 60 pounds of capelin each day! That's a lot of fish. As you can see in these pictures, capelin are relatively small, slender fish. Each one is less than seven inches long and only weighs a few ounces. So when you think about each penguin devouring three pounds of these fish each day, you really have to say "Wow!" Capelin, Mallotus villosus is a salt water fish similar in some ways to the fresh water smelt. Apparently our penguins are quite satisfied with the menu selection right now, as long as the capelin are fairly straight. You might see fish flying from the penguin beaks occasionally. This isn't a sloppy diner. Penguins are somewhat picky eaters. If a fish is bent or curved or not firm enough, it's flipped out of the tray and out of the way. That's not to say one of the others won't pick up the leftovers and gladly eat them. At the "Penguins' Rock" cafe, there's no need for doggie bags. And no need for a change in menu right now. These customers seem just fine ordering "the usual" for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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