Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Magic Rocks" added to Penguins' Rock

The Tennessee Aquarium's gentoo and macaroni penguins have been in Chattanooga just over one year now. They have adjusted well to their new surroundings and the shift to a Northern Hemisphere light cycle. Penguins get cues from the changing length of day throughout the year. This time of year is the onset of their breeding season, so the Aquarium has put out smooth stones that the penguins like to use as nesting materials. These stones are called "magic rocks" because they stimulate nest building and pair bonding if the penguins are ready to mate.

Some of our birds have been parents before, but most would be first-time parents. We don't know if any of our penguins will successfully hatch any chicks or not. Still, it's very fun to watch the penguins preening each other, building nests and appearing to roost. Just imagine how interesting things will get around the Tennessee Aquarium if we have a few baby penguins this summer.

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