The 2013 penguin nesting season is off to a fast start. The first egg was found yesterday in the nest of Little Debbie and Hercules.
This discovery comes two days earlier than last year. Macaroni penguins (like Little Debbie and Hercules) typically lay two eggs, but the first one is almost always smaller and quickly discarded by the parents. One scientific explanation for this behavior is that the first egg may serve to distract predators, giving the second egg a better chance at survival.
The second egg is usually laid within two to four days after the first. That means that we could see a second egg in the nest sometime over the weekend.
Nesting season is a great time for penguin watching as more eggs are laid and parents begin guarding them. We are always careful to remember that - both in nature and in human care - each egg has a long journey ahead of it. Inexperienced parents can be rough on eggs (and chicks) and sometimes they get damaged or neglected for unknown reasons.
However, we are hopeful that this year’s nesting will bring new penguin chicks and look forward to keeping you updated throughout the season. You can also watch the penguins’ activity in real time with our Penguin Rock Cam.
Update (11:00 a.m.): The egg was found broken earlier this morning. We are keeping a close watch for a second egg.