Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Penguin Baby at the Tennessee Aquarium

Macaroni baby at one day.

Gentoo baby at one day.

The Tennessee Aquarium has another new addition to "Penguins' Rock." A baby gentoo was born yesterday and so far parents Bug and Big T have been doing a pretty good job with their chick. There has been some concern because these new parents were pretty rough while they were turning and incubating their eggs. In fact, one of the eggs was crushed in the nest and the remaining egg had a small chip out of it. Senior aviculturist Amy Graves showed me the second eggshell and it's amazing that the chip didn't go through to the interior of the shell. But penguin eggs are much thicker than chicken eggs, and therefore durable enough to take some scrapes and bumps in a nest built out of stone. However, one misstep by the parents now could cause injury to this tiny newborn.

One month ago, we watched Paulie and Chaos caring for their tiny baby. There are some differences between the two in the "Day one" photos above. For example, the mac chick is darker and doesn't resemble the parents at this early stage. However, the lighter colored gentoo chick already sports an orange beak and white circle around the eyes like its parents. But the baby doesn't have the signature gentoo white head stripe yet.

The baby macaroni penguin started off with light gray feet, but now they are turning pink like the adult macaronis. Notice that it still lacks the signature "macaroni" crest feathers in this more recent image.
You'll also notice how quickly this youngster has grown. The baby macaroni can be heard in the gallery while visiting the Tennessee Aquarium now. His loud calls are keeping Paulie and Chaos on a busy feeding schedule. This growing penguin seems to be famished all the time.
By the way, the weather is supposed to be spectacular this weekend. Have you seen the forecast?
Perfect for a visit to Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium and a cruise aboard the River Gorge Explorer.

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