Tennessee Aquarium Announces A New Pair Of Baby Gentoo Penguins

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - by Thom Benson

What’s better than a new baby penguin at the Tennessee Aquarium? Two new baby penguins! The Gentoo chicks - born to two separate penguin pairs – are just over a month old and already showing their plucky penguin personalities.

The oldest, and the first Gentoo to hatch this year at the Aquarium, is the offspring of Biscuit and Blue. “This chick is already testing boundaries,” says Aquarium aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. He or she is already curiously testing everything with its beak and continually knocking over mom and dad’s food bowl.” The chick already makes a hissing sound that adult Gentoos are known to do that is akin to a goose’s warning hiss. “It almost sounds like a deep Darth Vader noise,” said Ms. Aldrich.

The second chick was born to a very experienced pair, Bug and Big T. Right now this little bird is happiest in the nest, snuggled up behind mom and dad. However, during checkups and weigh-ins, this cuddly-looking chick shows familiar signs of his parents’ feisty attitudes. “With those genes, this is going to be one tough bird!” said Ms. Aldrich.

These two newest babies come on the heels of the Aquarium’s first Macaroni penguin chick announced last month. Aquarium penguin experts are also watching the activity of a few more breeding pairs, hoping for more chicks later this season.

With a current total of three chicks and the possibility of more, Curator of Forests Dave Collins explains that the success of the Tennessee Aquarium’s penguin breeding program stems largely from the careful preparation that began in 2007. “A strong husbandry program is key in making sure every bird’s needs are met,” he said. “Proper diet, a strict cleaning schedule and outstanding veterinary support are very important – especially during nesting season. These factors contribute to the best conditions possible for the colony, which are needed to encourage bonding, strong mating pairs and healthy chicks.”

Aquarium guests can view the two newest penguin babies by looking for the acrylic “playpens” inside Penguins’ Rock.  The chicks  will remain within the protective barriers for several weeks. “It won’t be safe for them to get in the water until they have grown their swim feathers,” explains Aldrich. “But you’ll see frequent feedings throughout the day as the parents try to keep up with the chicks’ rather voracious appetites.” 

Visitors can also add the Ocean Journey Backstage Pass to their Aquarium admission for a special bird’s-eye view of the colony from the penguin keeper’s observation deck.

 


Celebrate Labor Day Weekend In Downtown Blue Ridge

The community is invited to celebrate Labor Day weekend in downtown Blue Ridge from Sept. 3 through Sept. 5. Events will include PIC-NIC-NAC, Community Worship and the annual Labor Day Bar-B-Q, all sponsored by Good Samaritans of Fannin County, Inc.   "This year marks the 36th year of the Labor Day Bar-B-Q, and Good Samaritans of Fannin County welcomes everyone to downtown ... (click for more)

Celebrate 38 Years Of The Mountaineer Folk Festival This Fall At Fall Creek Falls State Park

The 38 th  annual Mountaineer Folk Festival is sure to offer guests a weekend of traditional folk music, country cooking, pioneer skills demonstrations, craft booths and more on  Sept. 9-11,  at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The festival celebrates the heritage of the Cumberland Plateau with cultural and educational opportunities for all ages. The three-day ... (click for more)

2 Officers Testify That Miller Sped Toward Them In Vehicle; Woman Describes Frightening Carjacking

Two Chattanooga Police officers testified Tuesday that James Bryan Miller drove an SUV directly toward them, and both said they expected to be hit in an Aug. 1 incident in which Miller at one point drove north in the southbound lanes of I-75. Investigator Ty Cooper said he was bracing to have Miller ram into his police vehicle in reverse at a house on Watts Avenue, but he said ... (click for more)

Committee To Try To Reach Consensus On The Location Of The Planned Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center

In partnership with Chattanooga City Councilman Jerry Mitchell and Retired Major General Bill Raines, the Medal of Honor Heritage Center on Tuesday announced the formation of a special ad hoc committee that will develop a list of consensus recommendations for the proposed Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center. The committee, which is composed of local business ... (click for more)

Proud To Be A Conservative Conservationist

I was born and raised in Chattanooga and was brought up to be a Tennessee conservative. That means that my family conserved our spending, our resources, and yes, even our environment.  I think we were inspired to do so because Tennessee is one of the most beautiful places in the entire United States. We have stunning mountains, wild rivers and quiet backcountry. And many of ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Adore America

If Heather Cross weren’t married and didn’t have such a fine-looking family I’d swear I might propose. The dazzling lady just wrote a “By Gumbo! letter” to all the major news outlets in the world to inform them that half of the Pelican State is still submerged by “a 1,000-year flood” and where the heck are they with their cameras? She knows it is vital for the rest of America to ... (click for more)