Tennessee Aquarium Announces First Penguin Chick of 2014
There's a fluffy new face in the Tennessee Aquarium's Penguins' Rock exhibit. Aviculturists welcomed the new chick to the colony in June. The proud parents, "Chaos" and "Merlin," stay busy snuggling their baby in the nest and seem to enjoy showing it off to everyone.
"Both parents have very laid back personalities, which is helpful when we need to do weight checks and clean the nest," said senior aviculturist Amy Graves. "They're also a great parental team. Merlin serves as protector and Chaos does a great job feeding."
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Chaos certainly keeps busy since this tiny bird has a giant appetite. Aquarium guests can have fun eavesdropping on this family. A microphone inside the exhibit picks up the chick's vocalizations whenever it begs to be fed, which seems to be almost constantly lately. The sounds of the colony are audible throughout Penguins' Rock. But, mom responds to the begging and appears to be keeping pace. Her baby consistently weighs in at the high end of the healthy range during veterinary exams. "Baby penguins should experience rapid growth," said Graves. "We track each chick's progress through frequent weigh-ins and compare the results to the ranges we know are considered healthy. Since this penguin is staying pretty pudgy, it's clear that the parents are doing a great job with feeding."
The Aquarium's penguin experts hope this "big mac" sets a good example for the chicks that follow it. Both in demeanor and rapid growth.
Last year aviculturists had their hands full supplementing feedings for a couple of chicks up to five times each day when sluggish weight gains indicated the parents were not delivering enough nutrition on their own.
Aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich says even though the chick is very vocal, it seems to have inherited its parent's demeanor. "He's pretty laid-back and easygoing," said Aldrich. "The chick doesn't mind being handled during exams or being photographed."
This is quite a switch from "Pepper," another Macaroni who was also the Aquarium's very first baby penguin hatchling in 2009. "She was a feisty bird almost from the day she hatched," said Aldrich.
Earlier this year, Pepper and ten other penguins that were reared at the Aquarium were moved to other institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. They will have the opportunity to have offspring of their own while bolstering the overall genetic diversity of the Macaroni and Gentoo population in human care. This transfer also affords the Aquarium's colony more flipper room during the breeding season.
This new Macaroni penguin is the first for the 2014 season and it's possible that aviculturists will remain very busy this season with additional chicks.
Visitors can see the new chick inside an acrylic "playpen" on the right-hand side of the exhibit. It will remain inside this protective barrier for several more weeks before it will be allowed to roam outside the nest. "Penguins need their waterproof swim feathers before they are ready to go out on their own," said Graves. "Right now, the chick is still dependent on mom and dad, but they seem to like that just fine."
The chick's gender will be determined during a blood test later this year. At that time, a Facebook contest is planned to find the perfect name for him or her.
Guests who may want a "bird's eye" view during nesting season, can choose to add the Ocean Journey Backstage Pass to their regular Aquarium admission. This behind-the-scenes experience allows guests into one of the "Keepers Only" areas to see the nesting penguins, eggs and at least one plump little penguin.
More Entertainment News
Last Update on January 26, 2015 08:11 GMT
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "American Sniper" is still on target with movie fans. Bradley Cooper's Navy SEAL drama stays number one for a second straight weekend. American Sniper brings in more than $64 million this weekend, for a total that now tops 200 mil. It's also the top money-maker of this year's Oscar best picture contenders. Jennifer Lopez's thriller "The Boy Next Door" opens in a distant second, with $15 million. "Paddington" was third this weekend. Johnny Depp's "Mortdecai" is a dud out of the box. It places ninth, barely cracking four million. Depp is coming off a string of bombs, including "The Lone Ranger," "Dark Shadows" and "The Rum Diary."
"American Sniper" is still the movie to beat -- as the AP's Jamie Friar reports.
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Sound of Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller
Sound of Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller in a scene from "American Sniper," the number one movie at the box office for the second weekend in a row.
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Sound of Bradley Cooper
Sound of Bradley Cooper in a scene from "American Sniper," the number one movie at the box office for the second weekend in a row.
ROBERT REDFORD - DIVERSITY
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- Diversity. It's become the latest buzzword in Hollywood these days -- especially since this year's crop of Oscar hopefuls produced no minorities in the mix. One of the latest to discuss the subject: Robert Redford, who created the Sundance Film Festival. He says he designed the event to help promote a more diverse look at the world. He says filmmakers at his event "roll with" the idea of being more inclusive -- and he believes it shows. He says the films featured at Sundance "show how change is affecting the life we live and the society that we're in." This year, Redford has one of his own films being shown at the festival, something he says is "very weird."
Robert Redford says he feels those who bring their work to Sundance understand the concept of diversity.
<<CUT ..015 (01/26/15)>> 00:09 "keep it alive"
Robert Redford says there seems to be more presssure on moviemakers these days about what stories they can and can't tell.
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Robert Redford says his Sundance Film Festival is dedicated to diversity in movie making.
SUNDANCE AND OSCAR
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- It's well known as a place to show off the best of independent films. But is the Sundance Film Festival becoming an incubator for films being considered for Oscars? Not exactly, but the festival is getting a push from films that opened at Sundance last year -- and are getting Academy Awards props this year. For example, "Boyhood" and "Whiplash" were shown at Sundance last year -- and are in the running for the best picture Oscar next month. In recent years, Sundance films like "Precious," "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Winter's Bone" got attention come Oscar time. So observers will be watching closely to see whether any films from this year will be up for Oscar glory this time next year.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- "Birdman" gets an Oscar lift with two big wins over the weekend. It takes the best ensemble prize at the SAG Awards and wins top honors at the Producer Guild Awards. But Michael Keaton didn't take the top acting award at the SAG Awards. That went to "The Theory of Everything" star Eddie Redmayne. Other Oscar favorites -- Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons -- all won SAG Awards last night. On the TV side, "Orange is the New Black" takes the ensemble comedy award, while "Downton Abbey" wins for TV drama. The best TV actresses included Uzo Aduba in comedy for "Orange is the New Black" and Viola Davis in drama for "How to Get Away With Murder."
Michael Keaton says working on Birdman was an exercise in collaboration. COURTESY: The 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ((mandatory on-air credit))
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Julianne Moore, best actress winner for "Still Alice"
Julianne Moore offers encouragement for acting hopefuls. COURTESY: The 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..008 (01/26/15)>> 00:09 "blew my mind"
Eddie Redmayne, best actor winner for "The Theory of Everything"
Eddie Redmayne says he was inspired by those fighting ALS and their families. COURTESY: The 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..009 (01/26/15)>> 00:11 "but not tonight (laughs)"
William H. Macy, winner, best actor in TV comedy for "Shameless"
William H. Macy gloats a bit with his win. COURTESY: The 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ((mandatory on-air credit))
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Patricia Arquette, best actress winner for "Boyhood"
An emotional Patricia Arquette accepts her Actor statue. COURTESY: The 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..011 (01/26/15)>> 00:15 "more and more"
Frances McDormand, winner, best actress in a TV movie or mini series for "Olive Kitteridge"
Frances McDormand jokes they should be doing something other than dressing up and going out for an awards ceremony. COURTESY: The 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..012 (01/26/15)>> 00:12 "looks like me (cheers)"
Viola Davis, winner best actress in a TV drama for "How to Get Away With Murder"
Viola Davis thanks the producers of her ABC show for giving her a lead role. COURTESY: Courtesy of the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ((mandatory on-air credit))
STEPHEN COLLINS - DIVORCE
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chances are, you wouldn't have even heard about Stephen Collins' divorce -- were it not for the disclosures by his wife that her estranged hubby acted inappropriately with three underage girls. Now the divorce has gone final -- with the veteran TV actor and Faye Grant having their breakup approved by a judge in Los Angeles this past Friday. Grant's disclosures about her husband's actions decades ago cost Collins several roles and forced TV outlets to pull reruns of his old show, "7th Heaven." The pair's divorce judgment calls for all but two copies of the recordings in which Collins acknowledges his past actions to be destroyed.
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