Monday, September 13, 2010

Gentoo Chick, "Allow me to introduce myself."

Aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich gently lifted the Tennessee Aquarium's gentoo chick out of its acrylic "playpen" and placed him on the exhibit floor. Almost immediately, the chick began calling, it's squeaky voice instantly joined by a rather loud chorus of adult gentoo calls. The sound was nearly deafening for a few moments and then, abruptly stopped. "That's the way gentoos greet each other," said Aldrich. Introductions were made amongst the birds because this was the first time this "baby penguin" was free to roam about the colony with the other birds. At 72 days old, this chick is in the middle of what would normally be fledging time for gentoos in the wild.
Right now the macaronis are a surly group. Their in the middle of their molt which naturally causes them to be grumpy. Unfortunately, a youthful gentoo found out the hard way that you don't go barging into a molting macaroni's nest uninvited. Aldrich had to intervene when Hercules, seen above, tried to give the wandering chick a piece of his mind with the business end of his beak.

Back among friends with the other gentoos, this clumsy little penguin explored the exhibit introducing himself (or herself) to the other birds.
Even though this toddler weighs around 13 pounds, he or she appears to be wearing baggy pants. According to Aldrich, the "pants" will fit better as soon as the chick starts swimming. As the breast muscles develop, this loose appearing skin will "fill in."

Here Aldrich appears to be saying, "That's not your mother." The chick wasn't afraid to go "door to door" stopping at different nests to beg for a feeding.

"Go away kid! Even if I was your mother, you're getting too big to be pampered anymore."

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