Thursday, June 9, 2016

Fluff and Feathers: Little Blue Penguin Chicks

Little blue penguins are the smallest species of penguin in the world. When visitors step up to their exhibit across from the Gift Shop, many exclaim, "Aww, look at the babies!" Except they're not babies. While they are petite and noticeably smaller than their African and rockhopper neighbors, the birds on exhibit are not babies.

BUT! This spring, the babies weren't far. We're thrilled to share that five little blue chicks hatched earlier this year and have been growing up behind the scenes in the comfort and safety of their parents' watchful eyes (with a little help from our penguin team).

Four of the five little blue penguins born at the Aquarium this year.
The chicks hatched from their eggs around April. Two of the little ones made their media debuts just before Mother’s Day in a video celebrating mothers around the world, including their own. In fact, their mom, 9-year-old Carnac was also hatched here in Boston. She is an experienced mom having raised three other chicks before.

Now it's time for others to shine! This year's chicks are in various stages of development, one is still poofed out in its downy gray feathers, the rest have grown their handsome blue and white waterproof feathers and have already joined the adults on exhibit! The little one will remain behind the scenes with its parents while it matures. So while you can visit these newbies on exhibit, we're pretty sure you'll still want to see their baby pictures.

Brace yourself, this is some serious cute.

Few things are cuter than a fluffy jumble of penguin chicks.
The chicks wear temporary ID bracelets on their wings so the penguin biologists can tell them apart.
They may be small, but little blue penguins can make a racket! 
These little blues are sporting the downy feathers of a younger chick. 
This chick has lost most of its downy feathers and
you can see its white belly and lovely blueish feathers growing in.

Find more cute pictures of these little chicks in the Boston Herald.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Penguin Awareness Day — January 20

Wednesday, January 20, 2016, is penguin awareness day (not to be confused with World Penguin Day—we'll take any chance to celebrate penguins, amirite?). What a great excuse to take a break and visit the penguins mid-week! While we have regular talks and feedings throughout the day, we thought we would arm you with some extra fun facts about these amazing birds.

African penguins are closely related to the Humboldt, Galapagos and Magellanic penguins. They are also known as jackass penguins, because they make a sound that is very similar to a donkey's bray.

AEWA, an African penguin

Little blue penguins are the smallest species of penguin. Some scientists believe they are the first penguins that evolved from flying birds.

A male little blue penguin

Southern rockhopper penguins are the only species that will dive into the ocean feet first rather than head first.

Noir, a rockhopper penguin

Being aware of penguins also means understanding some of the threats facing them in the wild, including climate change. Temperate penguins are able to inhabit places where upwelling brings cold, nutrient-rich ocean water to the surface, which creates a bountiful food supply. These penguins periodically face extreme food shortages when El Niño events usher in warm water and prevent cold water from reaching the surface. Leading climate scientists believe that global climate change will lead to stronger El Niño events in the future. Other species of penguins are faring better with shifts in ice and water currents. Learn more here.

Fox, the little blue penguin at 17 days old

At the Aquarium, we participate in species survival plans (SSP). This ensures that the penguins that live here and at zoos and aquariums across the country remain genetically healthy. It also means that we often look forward to chicks being born here at the Aquarium! There's nothing cuter.

Come learn more about how the Aquarium is helping penguins here and around the world! Plan a visit to see the penguins.