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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 October 21, 2014 07:06 GMT
"BUFFY" ACTOR BUSTED
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- An actor who starred in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" says he's sorry for misbehaving at an event in Idaho this past Friday. And Nicholas Brendon says he's off to rehab because of what went down. Brendon was arrested at a Comic-Con event in Boise. Fans were invited to have photos taken with him or get autographs -- for a fee. But police were called after the hotel complained about a disturbance -- and when police came, they say Brendon acted up more. He blames the whole thing on him mixing booze and prescribed pain meds. He calls his actions "embarrassing and unacceptable" -- and he plans to resolve his "medical ailments" and his "emotional demons." He said the physical was a knee cyst but didn't elaborate on the emotional demons.
AP Entertainment Editor Oscar Wells Gabriel reports an actor who was in "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" has some odd nighttime behavior of his own to explain.
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Excerpt from theme
Here's a bit of the theme from the TV show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
UNDATED (AP) -- Don't know if Lord (LORD) is into baseball. But apparently baseball is into her -- or at least fans of the two teams in the World Series are wrapped up her music. The New Zealand pop star's biggest hit is "Royals" -- and, of course, the Kansas City Royals playing the San Francisco Giants in the series. Two radio stations in San Francisco say they wouldn't play "Royals" while the baseball championship is going on. In response, a station in Kansas City, Missouri said it would play the song every hour most of today. Game One of the series is tonight.
Sound of Lorde performing "Royals."
DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN-EBOLA FALLOUT
NEW YORK (AP) -- Dr. Nancy Snyderman may not have caught Ebola. But she is sure catching flak for the way she handled her quarantine after returning to the U.S. from Liberia, where her cameraman contracted the disease. More than a-thousand people have posted notes on her Facebook page, saying she should retire -- or that NBC should fire her as medical correspondent. The reason: Snyderman and members of her crew ducked out from their voluntary quarantine to grab some takeout from a New Jersey restaurant. After she was spotted in public, New Jersey health officials made the quarantine mandatory. NBC hasn't commented on her situation. But many Facebook posters have -- saying they feel Synderman's credibility as a medical pro is shot.
AP Entertainment editor Oscar Wells Gabriel reports reaction to Dr. Nancy Snyderman's breaking an Ebola-related quarantine has drawn flak online.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jimmy Fallon says his daughter inspired him to write a book. The "Tonight Show" host has teamed up with Feiwel and Friends for a picture book titled "Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada." The book is due out in June. By the way, Fallon's daughter Winnie Rose has spoken her first word. It was "Mama."
MONICA LEWINSKY-INTERNET BULLYING
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Internet was a relative newbie when Monica Lewinsky first was burned into the national consciousness. And she says she considers herself the first person whose character was nearly killed by what was written about her online. Now, the former White House intern whose trysts with Bill Clinton nearly ended his presidency says she was "patient zero" when it came to cyberbullying. Lewinsky is now 41 -- and says there needs to be a cultural revolution to end what she calls the "compassion deficit" that feeds online hostility.
CARMEL, Calif. (AP) -- Part of old-school actress Joan Fontaine's estate is going to the dogs. Not to mention the cats, horses and other animals in need of help. The Monterey County Herald of California reports proceeds from the estate sale will go to the local SPCA. We aren't talking chicken scratch here. The executor of Fontaine's estate says her home in Carmel, California could be worth up to $3 million. Fontaine died last December at age 96.
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