Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaps and bounds.

It was pretty surprising to visit Penguins' Rock today and see how quickly the baby macaroni is growing. I hadn't seen the chick since Friday and in just a few days it has grown by leaps and bounds. Last week, you could barely get a glimpse of the tiny bird. Today there are many times when you can see the baby's downy feathers under the parent. You will also see the parents feeding the little one quite often. Either Paulie or Chaos will open their beak to let the baby get some food. Almost the entire head disappears inside the parent's wide-0pen beak. The other macaroni penguins are all very curious to see the little bundle of joy. So much so that Aquarium staffers had to build a small acrylic fence to keep the onlookers out. This gives the parents a break, but still allows visitors and the other penguins to look into the nest site. A couple of times a squabble broke out across this see-through barrier which looked a little comical. Amy Graves explains that this kind of interaction is an important part of penguin life. "Even though it looks pretty aggressive, it is mainly a territorial display. Usually it's nothing more than squawking and snapping at each other. Most of the time it only lasts for a few seconds."

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