Friday, May 30, 2014

Nesting Season Going Swimmingly on Penguins’ Rock


Seven otters are making a big splash in the Aquarium’s new River Otters Falls exhibit, located atop the River Journey building. Meanwhile there’s plenty of excitement in Ocean Journey as well. Five pairs of penguins spent the month of May building nests and laying eggs. Our aviculturists are currently monitoring the progress of six eggs. Right now, the count is split down the middle with three eggs from each species.

Macaroni penguins 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.

In contrast, Gentoo penguins may lay up to two viable eggs each year. With a couple of Gentoo pairs still building nests, there’s a chance for more eggs this season.

As much fun as egg watching is this time of year, we are always careful to remember that, “You never count your penguins before they hatch.” Inexperienced parents can be rough on eggs (and chicks) and sometimes they get damaged or neglected for unknown reasons. Our experts want the birds to develop their parental skills. Therefore, aviculturists carefully monitor each pair and their eggs. If all goes well, there may be some baby penguins to enjoy watching.

In the meantime, we look forward to keeping you updated throughout the season. You can also watch the penguins’ activity in real time with our Penguin Rock Cam.

Keep your flippers crossed for new chicks this summer!