Friday, June 19, 2009

Oh Baby! One hatchling and yet another egg.

This picture shows senior aviculturist Amy Graves checking in on Paulie, Chaos and the new macaroni penguin chick. It was shortly after this image was taken when Amy heard the baby vocalizing. "I heard a soft, but strong, 'peep, peep, peep.' Paulie spent most of the day keeping the newborn warm. It wasn't until about 8:15 pm last night that he was relieved by Chaos. During that "shift change," we got a good look at the baby. It has soft, slate-gray downy feathers and a very cute little beak. Visitors will have limited viewing of the new chick over the next couple of days as Paulie and Chaos will continue to keep it covered and warm. But viewing opportunities should improve if everything continues to go well. The parents should start feeding the chick which will allow for some interesting viewing from time to time. Graves says the parents should feed the baby three to five times daily. Should the chick need more food, gets dehydrated or is being pestered by other penguins, Aquarium keepers will take the baby off exhibit and place it in a brooder. Graves says this warming shelter keeps the baby warm and comfortable, simulating being under the parents. They also have all of the ingredients to produce "penguin milkshakes" for the baby. This nutritionally balanced formula would be fed to the chick three to five times daily, similar to what the parents should do. Penguin infants face a number of challenges, so we'll hope Paulie and Chaos continue to be good parents and that the chick can remain strong and keep growing.

Today, Graves found another surprise. "Peep" has laid her first egg. So we should see her second egg within a few days. Like the other gentoo eggs, we won't know for awhile whether or not Peep's egg is viable.

So here is where we stand today:

Macaroni - "Paulie" & "Chaos" - one baby

Gentoo - "Big T" & "Bug" - two eggs
"Blue" & "Biscuit" - one egg
"Poncho" & "Peep" - one egg

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