Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Romance Returns to Penguins' Rock

A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes at Penguins' Rock recently. First, all of the gentoo and macaroni penguins were given complete physical examinations by Aquarium vet Dr. Chris Keller. While this was going on, the pool was drained and the entire exhibit was cleaned from top to bottom. Keepers like to start off a new breeding season with a spotless exhibit. Cleaning chores become a bit more challenging while the penguins are nesting. Every effort is made not to disturb the birds while they are on the nest. On April 1st, the penguins will receive the rocks necessary to build nests. This will trigger what Amy Graves calls, "a beehive of penguin nest building and courtship behavior."
Senior aviculturist Amy Graves with the "magic rocks" the Tennessee Aquarium penguins will use to build nests. The rocks are sorted to make sure they are too large to swallow, but not too heavy for the gentoo and macaroni penguins to carry with their beaks. Plenty of work goes into cleaning the exhibit and rocks before breeding season begins.

Graves says Hercules is a dashing penguin in the eyes of the female macaronis. Keepers, volunteers and visitors will watch with interest to see which birds pair up after the nesting rocks are placed in the exhibit.
Left to right: Pepper, Chaos and Paulie seem determined to claim their former nesting site. After raising Pepper last year, Chaos and Paulie have developed a strong pair bond. Graves and others would be very surprised if these two mates are not together again. Pepper will probably play with rocks this season. It will be interesting to see what she'll do if there is a sibling this year.
For more information go to the Tennessee Aquarium's newsroom:

No comments: