Monday, August 2, 2010

Baby Penguin Growing Rapidly at the Tennessee Aquarium

Wow! It's amazing how fast the Tennessee Aquarium's baby penguin is growing. The little gentoo chick isn't so little anymore. We still don't know whether this bird is a boy or a girl. It is 33 days old today. And while it is still adorable, it looks a little awkward right now. Look how big its feet look in relation to the body.
It now eats larger pieces of regurgitated fish from mom, but it is not yet ready to eat whole fish. The chick can keep himself/herself warm in the air now, though most of the time his/her head is buried under mom’s flipper. There has been more movement in the nest by the chick, and occasionally he/she comes up to the acrylic and tries to bite at nosy macaroni and gentoo onlookers!

In the above photo, aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich examines the chick before placing it in the brooder while the nest gets a cleaning. The plush animals help keep the chick comfortable while in the brooder for short periods of time.

Another chick on the way???
Poncho and Peep have two eggs on their nest, and the hatch range for them is August 1-5. On Friday, July 30, Dr. Keller and a few other staff members candled the eggs. This is done in a dark room, using a light that shines through the egg and shows if anything is developing inside. While results are not 100% conclusive, it appears that one of the eggs may have a developed chick inside. If nothing has hatched by August 12th, one week after they are due, then we’ll know that they were infertile.