MONTEREY - Staff members at the Monterey Bay Aquarium discovered this week that they have twice as much to chirp about.
A second blackfooted penguin chick pecked its way out of an egg Tuesday, joining a sibling that, two days earlier, had become the first bird of its kind to be hatched on exhibit.
Aimee Greenebaum, the aquarium's Associate Curator of Aviculture, was attending to the firstborn chick during a feeding when she heard chirping coming from another direction. The source of the racket was a second baby penguin that, according to Greenebaum, was "sitting in half a shell, sing it as a comfy chair."
The newest member of the aquarium family was incubated by foster parents, Tranya and Molopo, who were selected by the staff based on observations of their parenting instincts. The pair spent a week preparing for the blessed event by caring for a fake egg, which eventually was switched for the real one.
The chick's birth parents, Dassen and Umngane, continue to care for the firstborn youngster.
Greenebaum says both infants are fragile and predicts introduction into the exhibit at the aquarium will be slow.
The Penguin Camera is located on Torgersen Island (64°46’S, 64°04’W), off the coast of Anvers Island and less than a mile from Palmer Station. Torgersen Island is home to a colony of Adélie penguins numbering approximately 2,500. This camera is seasonal and operates primarily from October to February, the Adélie breeding season. The camera is solar-powered and may sometimes experience brief outages due to inclement weather. School classrooms and other educational demonstrations will often take control of the camera, moving it to gain better views of the colony.