Monday, January 25, 2010

When will Pepper Look Like A Macaroni?

Aviculturist Amy Graves recently returned from a working visit to Sea World in San Diego, CA. While there, Graves was able to observe and learn new techniques from the SeaWorld penguin keepers. It's the end of the penguin breeding season at SeaWorld, so Graves was able to observe how they raise penguin chicks.
Among the many things Graves learned relates to "Pepper," the macaroni chick born at the Tennessee Aquarium last June. Many people, visitors and staff included, have inquired about the crest feathers on the chick, and when those will start to appear. We now know that after the first molt that the chick goes through, most of the crest feathers will appear. This molt will be in the fall of 2010. However, a Macaroni chick does not have the complete crest until after it’s second molt, which for this chick will be the fall of 2011. So Pepper will be easy to identify on exhibit for a while to come. This lack of crest not only helps people spot the chick easily, but it also helps the other birds in the colony identify her as a juvenile.

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