Friday, April 23, 2010

Macaroni penguin eggs at the Tennessee Aquarium

(Above) Paulie is seen protecting his mate's first egg of 2010.
(Above) Paulie and Chaos have been very diligent penguin parents in the past, raising last year's chick Pepper. So far they have kept their first egg 48 hours. Last year, they crushed their first egg in the nest within a day.
Wow! The Tennessee Aquarium's gentoo and macaroni penguins just received the rocks they use to build nests on April 1st and there have already been four eggs laid! All of them are macaroni eggs, so don't get too excited about baby penguins just yet. As our penguin keepers explain, macaroni penguins usually have a clutch of two eggs. But the first egg is about 60 percent smaller than the second egg that is laid. Macaronis will usually boot the first egg out of their nest or crush it. This seems to be nature's way of focusing efforts on the egg with the greatest chance of survival to adulthood.
Gentoo penguins on the other hand, lay eggs of roughly the same size. It's possible that a gentoo pair could raise two chicks in one season. So far, the gentoos have been a little more leisurely about building nests and laying eggs. However, aviculturists Amy Graves and Loribeth Aldrich believe that since a few eggs are showing up in the exhibit, more nest building and courtship will be taking place.
Here are the first three installments of the Tennessee Aquarium's "Love on the Rocks - Season Two" webisodes. This will help catch you up on what's turning out to be a rather fast-paced nesting season.

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