Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications
In April, we celebrated the hatching of five Humboldt penguin chicks. Yesterday, we showed off a couple of these chicks to local press, and are they growing fast! The biggest chick weighed in at 8 pounds and is just 3 inches shy of reaching full adult height.
While penguin chicks do grow surprisingly fast, they still have that adorable “babyish” look. Wearing the downy plumage they were born with, their gray, waterproof feathers are starting to grow in.
The three sets of parents continue to raise their young in nesting burrows in a quiet, off-exhibit room. The chicks shown in these photos hatched on the first of April and on Easter Sunday, representing the oldest chicks from this year’s breeding season. We don’t know the gender of the chicks yet but will find out in the near future through DNA testing.
So, when do you get to see the chicks? Our plan is to introduce them to the outdoor exhibit sometime in late June to mid-July, but first we need to train them to accept food (trout, smelt or herring) from the keepers and enter and exit the exhibit on cue. Also, before joining the colony of adults outdoors, we’ll allow the chicks to swim round-the-clock in an off-exhibit room with a shallow pool. Here, we can gauge their comfort level in a controlled environment.
We’re very excited about our chicks and can’t wait to introduce them to our community. After all, we just opened the state-of-the-art exhibit a year ago and five chicks are not bad at all for penguins living in a new home. Stay tuned for their debut this summer and get ready to see our new chicks do what they were born to do—“fly” underwater!
Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.