Sunday, August 19, 2012

Macaroni Penguin Chick #2 Starts Swimming

Above: Guest blogger Tennessee Aquarium aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich with macaroni chick #2.
The second macaroni chick of the year had his/her first swim this week! This chick, the offspring of Paulie (dad) and Chaos (mom), was raised in the backup penguin area away from the rest of the colony. Paulie sustained an injury to his beak near the beginning of breeding season. So the pair was pulled off exhibit to allow for some recovery time. While in backup, Chaos laid her egg in the backup! We decided to allowed them to remain off-exhibit to raise their chick since they were already comfortably nesting there. 
The chick now has his adult feathers, although a few stubborn downy ones remain on his head and back. Recently it was decided that he was ready to meet the colony. This is easier said than done. While he literally tries to beat down the door in backup, he is meeting a brand new group of penguins and new "world" for the first time.
While he never had to worry with aggression when he was small, he did not have the advantage the other chick did of seeing the other birds each day. 

This makes him stand out. Although most birds have only been curious, he is very alert and sometimes a little afraid of them. When he goes out to swim, it takes a while for him to gain confidence, but eventually he jumps in and has no fear. He quickly found three of the four exits from the pool, and he appears much more graceful underwater than the other macaroni chick. 

However, unlike the first macaroni chick, this one prefers the land to the water. A quick swim is enough for him! If he continues to acclimate well, he will be left unsupervised next week!

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