Starting today, people can watch two new chicks grow, as well as get weekly video updates and submit questions to penguin trainers.
“This Web cam was hugely popular when it launched last year, as it provides the public the unique opportunity to witness chicks’ fascinating developmental process,” said Dr. Tracy Romano, senior vice president of research and zoological operations at Mystic Aquarium, a division of Sea Research Foundation, Inc. “A lot of viewers wanted to know more, so we have added interactive components this year that give them a true behind-the-scenes look at the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit. They will meet our trainers, get up-close views of the chicks and hear firsthand about their progress.”
Every Friday afternoon, a new “Bird Bit” video update will be posted to the Web cam page. In these short videos, a penguin trainer will share insights on the chicks’ development and milestones, as well as answer two or three of viewers’ most interesting or commonly-asked questions. Visitors to the Web cam page can also watch a chick grow before their eyes in a photo slideshow.
Today, the chicks are 34 and 33 days old. During the first 40 days, the little ones are unable to maintain their body heat, so they seek warmth under their parents. Viewers will see their heads and beaks emerge when they are hungry and when their parents feed them. Later in this period, the inquisitive chicks will slowly venture on their own into other areas of their room. Once they are weaned (around day #50), people can observe the aquarium’s trainers teaching the chicks to feed from them.
At 75 to 100 days of age, the chicks will be fully fledged. Their soft down will be replaced with juvenile plumage, and they will be ready to fend for themselves. The fledglings will join the 27 adult African penguins on exhibit at the aquarium.
The cam, which can be accessed from the Mystic Aquarium Web site homepage (http://www.mysticaquarium.org/), will be on daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with occasional breaks when the chicks are removed from the room.