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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.
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Last Update on July 31, 2014 07:09 GMT
PRODUCTION OF NEW SEASON OF "BIG BANG THEORY" DELAYED IN CONTRACT DISPUTE
NEW YORK (AP) -- "The Big Bang Theory" is being delayed by a fight over big bucks. The first day of production was postponed because of a contract dispute. The Hollywood Reporter says Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki currently make $325,000 per episode. They're negotiating as a group and want salary increases to as high as $1 million per episode as well as a cut of the back-end profits. Contract disputes are common on long-running TV shows.
"GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY"
LONDON (AP -- Zoe Saldana likes it when she has a bit of bad in her. Saldana plays Gamora in "Guardians of the Galaxy." She's an anti-hero who later becomes a hero. Saldana says it's "a better arc" when a character starts off one way and ends up another. Guardians of the Galaxy opens tomorrow.
<<CUT ..004 (07/31/14)>> 00:15 "all the time"
Zoe Saldana says it was fun doing her own stunts and it was also a good example for young women.
<<CUT ..005 (07/31/14)>> 00:10 "a better arc"
Zoe Saldana says it's more fun to play someone who's not all good.
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JIMMY FALLON PUTS HIS HEAD BETWEEN HEIDI KLUM'S LEGS
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jimmy Fallon jokes his wife is going to kill him. On last night's "Tonight Show" Fallon put his head between Heidi Klum's legs. They were doing an acrobatic stunt, a head-to-heels roll forming a human wheel. They started with Fallon lying on a mat with Klum standing astride over his head. Fallon promised not to peek up her dress. Klum said the only thing to see up there was the transmitter to her wireless mic. After they finished their roll, Klum told Fallon they were going to do it German-style. They did another series of rolls, this time belly-to-belly.
<<CUT ..006 (07/31/14)>> 00:11 "OK, I peeked"
Jimmy Fallon and Heidi Klum
Jimmy Fallon promises Heidi Klum he won't look under her dress as they do a head-to-heels roll, forming a human wheel. COURTESY: NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..007 (07/31/14)>> 00:08 "1, 2, 3 (screams)"
Heidi Klum and Jimmy Fallon
Heidi Klum tells Jimmy Fallon the only thing to see under her dress is the transmitter for her wireless mic. COURTESY: NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" ((mandatory on-air credit))
<<CUT ..008 (07/31/14)>> 00:05 "lay down, OK (laughs)"
Heidi Klum and Jimmy Fallon
Heidi Klum and Jimmy Fallon do a second series of rolls, this time belly-to-belly. COURTESY: NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" ((mandatory on-air credit))
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"GREY'S ANATOMY'S" SARAH DREW PREGNANT IN REAL LIFE, TOO
NEW YORK (AP) -- Sarah Drew has something in common with April. They're both pregnant. Her publicist tells People.com that Drew is expecting her second child with her husband Peter Landfer. She's due in December. They also have a two and a-half year old son Micah. Drew's character April revealed she was pregnant in the season finale of "Grey's Anatomy."
TV LAND PICKS UP JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jim Gaffigan's getting his own show on TV Land. Ten episodes of "The Gaffigan Show" have been ordered. The show will be about his life as a standup comic who eats too much. Kind of like his autobiography, which is called "Dad is Fat." Gaffigan says he's thrilled to get his own show, but he's probably most excited about the food they'll serve on set.
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