Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Shivers! Gentoo Penguin Turns One Today.

 Shivers, the Tennessee Aquarium's first gentoo chick, turns one today. Keepers say her personality has changed a bit over the past year. Initially Shivers was rather feisty, but lately she has taken on a more friendly demeanor.
 Penguins grow quickly and Shivers was no exception. Looking back on her baby pictures it was hard to believe that she looked almost like an adult in roughly three months. But even six months later she would pester mom for a free feeding.
 Penguin chicks look so clumsy once they become "toddlers." Look at how big her feet looked in this photo in relation to the rest of her body. I guess this might be considered a picture of Shivers' "awkward" stage.
 Aviculturists like Loribeth Aldrich, spend a lot of extra hours caring for penguin chicks. The first few weeks are delicate times for penguins. In the wild there are additional challenges, such as avoiding predators like skuas. At the Aquarium, tiny birds only come face to face with their skilled keepers.
 Shivers was well-fed by her parents so aviculturists did not have to step in and supplement her diet. Shivers was placed in an acrylic bowl for regular weigh-ins to ensure she was gaining weight at a steady rate.
We'll have to wait until next year to see if any more baby penguins appear at the Tennessee Aquarium. But today, we'll sing a birthday song or two.

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