Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Eggs Already? Tennessee Aquarium Penguins Off To A Fast Start!

The penguin breeding season appears to be off to a fast start. The first eggs have appeared less than two weeks after the Tennessee Aquarium's penguins received the rocks used for nesting materials. 

In the video above, you see how eager many of the penguins seemed to start building their nests this year. The first egg was laid by macaroni penguin "Little Debbie" on Saturday. Macaronis lay two eggs, but the first egg is almost always smaller than the first egg. The birds will normally discard or break the first egg fairly quickly. Unfortunately it appears that "Little Debbie" has not paired up with any of the males, so her second egg will likely turn out to be infertile.
In the picture above, macaronis "Shamrock" and "Hercules" are seen next to gentoo penguin "Nipper."
On Monday, April 16th "Shamrock" laid her first egg. "Hercules" is seen in the picture above sitting on this first egg. We expect this egg to get broken before the first egg arrives, but senior aviculturist Amy Graves they have a well-built nest and both birds appear to be diligent parents.
So while this first egg isn't expected to produce a chick, it will be interesting to observe this couple for the next few weeks.
Aquarium guests should look for this couple near the middle of the exhibit on the upper level near the utility door. 

Bonus Podcast! Listen to Amy talking about what visitors can see and what may be ahead: http://yourlisten.com/channel/content/122983/Penguin%20eggs%202012

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