Thursday, April 29, 2010

Penguins' Rock Update

Senior aviculturist Amy Graves says Chaos and Paulie continue to be role model penguin parents. "Both are being textbook parents to their second egg," said Graves. "Like last year, Paulie spends most of the time incubating while Chaos stands nearby." If the egg is viable, the window for hatching would be a few days either side of Memorial Day.

Sweet Pea and Merlin – Last year Tennessee Aquarium visitors noticed that Sweet Pea was very interested in Chaos, Paulie and Pepper. She would spend hours standing near Chaos and Paulie's nest watching the chick. This year, Sweet Pea has an egg of her own. Graves says Sweet Pea is turning out to be a very good mother, but Merlin is not a diligent dad. "He’ll lay near the egg, next to the egg and he'll even occasionally step on the egg, but he won’t incubate it properly," said Graves. While Sweet Pea is doing a great job incubating, keepers don’t expect this egg to hatch. They will leave this egg on exhibit with Sweet Pea and Merlin as long as it remains intact, which should lead to better parenting skills next season.

Gentoo penguins Biscuit and Blue may be up to something. They were the first gentoos with eggs last year. And Graves has noticed Blue staying at the nest site and protecting it. He normally heads for the water when keepers are around. So this behavior may indicate that Biscuit is getting ready to lay an egg.

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