Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Baby Macaroni Has Plenty of Caretakers

Everyone was relieved after the first examination of the Aquarium's new baby macaroni penguin. Dr. Chris Keller, seen above with senior aviculturist Amy Graves, said the chick is growing quickly and appears to be well-hydrated. The little bird weighed in at 484 grams which is a bit heavier than average one-week-old macaronis. So Graves and other keepers breathed a sigh of relief. And for a moment, Loribeth Aldrich, (Seen with Amy Graves below) Kevin Calhoon, Graves and Dr. Keller got a good look at the new addition to Paulie and Chaos' nest.
One of the other things Dr. Keller noted was the response of the parents to the exam. He was really pleased that the parents appeared to recognize that the keepers were not going to harm the chick and didn't get too upset by the brief encounter.
Paulie and Chaos have been very good parents so far, they have had excellent care from the keepers and even from one unexpected source.
Visitors may notice Sweet Pea, the macaroni penguin with the hot pink flipper bands, standing near the nest for long periods of time. This interesting behavior caught Graves attention awhile back. "According to the experts I spoke to at SeaWorld, Sweet Pea is an "Auntie," Graves said. "Sometimes a curious female penguin without a chick of her own will move in and help protect the nest and the chick." If you watch Sweet Pea, she never really squabbles with Paulie and Chaos. She simply hangs out and keeps an eye on things, perhaps ready to lend a flipper if she's called upon.

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