Friday, August 31, 2007

Have you had your vitamin today?

A special guest visits "Penguins' Rock"

Former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker was in the Scenic City recently to address the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce during their annual meeting. Senator Baker praised the city for it's many accomplishments including the rebirth of the downtown and revitalization of the entire riverfront area. His remarks included high praise for the Tennessee Aquarium saying, "The Tennessee Aquarium does unique and special things for Chattanooga. It's the crown jewel of this community." We were pleased to introduce him to the Aquarium's newest stars, our gentoo and macaroni penguins. Senator Baker has always been a passionate photographer, and he really enjoyed the chance to photograph the playful birds at "Penguins' Rock." Penguin curiosity brought them close enough for some great shots. Afterwards a number of people spotted him and walked up to say hello and shake hands. That's high praise for Senator Baker who is obviously still very popular among many of the people he served.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Allopreening - Something To Look For

(Photos taken by Clarita Berger at the Tennessee Aquarium)

I have posted about preening before, but it’s worth mentioning again since you will see the penguins doing this in a variety of ways. In fact, you’ll see at least one of the penguins, somewhere in the exhibit, preening either on the rocks or in the water virtually all the time. Penguins have to maintain their feathers to ensure waterproofing and insulation. They use their beaks to smooth and straighten their feathers. They also use their beaks to spread a waxy substance from a gland at the base of their tail. Both preening techniques help penguins to stay waterproof and warm. Sometimes you’ll see the penguins swimming along on one side, wiggling and spraying water everywhere…this is a penguin bath. Bathing is another way birds keep their feathers in the best shape possible. Occasionally you’ll witness allopreening, or mutual preening. This is when two birds very gently preen each other. The pictures above are two of our macaroni penguins preening each other. They aren’t necessarily mates, but clearly they are friendly enough to spend some time together taking care of each other’s feathers.