Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Come Watch African Chicks Grow

Adult African penguins celebrate their 'birthday' with a cake at Mystic Aquarium in July 2008. (CLOE POISSON / HARTFORD COURANT / July 2, 2008)

You Can Watch As Baby Penguins Grow

By STEVE GRANT | The Hartford Courant
February 11, 2009

With more than a month of winter still to go, maybe it's time for a warm fuzzy.

The Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration has a suggestion: a roomful of just-hatched penguin chicks you can watch live at a new webcam site.

The chicks, unable to maintain their body heat by themselves for the first 40 days, seek warmth under their parents. If you check the website, so far the adults are the most visible. They are housed in an area of the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit away from public view.

Viewers can see the chick's heads and beaks emerge when they are hungry and their parents feed them. Eventually, the chicks will venture on their own into other areas of their room. Once they are weaned, at about day 50 of their lives, webcam viewers will be able to observe aquarium trainers teaching the chicks to take feed from them.

Related links: Mystic Aquarium Penguin Cam Mystic Aquarium Penguin Cam HERE

At 75 to 100 days, the soft down of the chicks will be replaced with juvenile plumage, and they will be ready to fend for themselves. The fledglings then will either join the 26 adult African penguins on exhibit at the aquarium or go to other facilities that house the species.

The webcam can be accessed at www.mysticaquarium.org. It will operate daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with occasional breaks when the chicks are removed from the room.

Animal webcams have proliferated in recent years. At www.ctaudubon.org, viewers can watch the activity in an osprey nest in Milford (the webcam returns to live coverage March 9). Last year, four osprey eggs hatched.

In Hartford, a webcam tracks the progress of a peregrine falcon nest on the Travelers tower each year, though some years are a bust. There was no nesting last year. The webcam is seen at falconcam.travelers.com.

Story and pic courtesy of the Hartford Courant @


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