If you’ve called recently about booking an encounter with one of our Magellanic penguins, you know that the birds are molting. We suspend the penguin encounters during this two- to three-week period while the birds refeather.
For penguins, molting is an annual process during which they completely replace their plumage. (Some bird species have a second either partial or complete molt during the year.)
“The Magellanics look like shorn sheep,” says Lana Vanagasem, Shedd's supervisor of sea otters and penguins, shown above leading a penguin encounter. The birds probably feel like it, too. She speculates that the sensation of the new feathers emerging from the follicles in the skin is itchy. “They definitely can be irritable during molt,” she says.
Continue reading "Your Patience Is Appreciated while the Penguins Replume " »
It’s Penguin Awareness Day, and here’s someone who’s all dressed up and ready to celebrate. Why not schedule a Shedd trip soon to visit this bird and the other Magellanic penguins, as well as the rockhoppers, in Polar Play Zone? Kids can even put on a penguin costume—or just wear black and white.
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I’ve always had a fascination with penguins, ever since I was a child. However, never in my wildest dreams did I actually think I’d meet a penguin. Then, one day, I sat on a small bench surrounded by strangers (who would quickly become friends based on this amazing shared experience) and there in front of me stood 407. At just under 2 years old, 407 is a juvenile Magellanic penguin and one of the many penguins that are a part of the encounter program at Shedd. This extraordinary experience, similarly to Shedd’s Beluga Encounter and Trainer for a Day programs, allow guests to get a close-up, behind-the-scenes experience - not just for entertainment, but an amazing opportunity to learn more about these beautiful animals.
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For the top-to-bottom Oceanarium renovation, Kris Nesbitt, senior exhibit designer, and Kara Kotwas, senior graphic designer, saw the underwater viewing gallery as a blank canvas on which to create a universally accessible permanent exhibit where “all children can find something to do.”
Continue reading "Creating Polar Play Zone at Shedd" »
Shedd’s Magellanic chicks have joined the eight adult Magellanics and 12 rockhoppers in the penguin habitat. Here’s a recap of their development plus an update on their progress, courtesy of trainer and penguin lead Lana Vanagasem, since we last reported on them June 10.
Our five penguin chicks made the trip from the San Francisco Zoo to Shedd as eggs in a portable incubator, securely strapped into their own business-class seat on a commercial flight. Lana was beside them the whole trip. The day after the eggs arrived, May 15, the first chick pipped its eggshell, beginning the laborious task of hatching. The chicks were fully hatched out between May 16 and 24, after an average of 40 days of incubation. The white spot on the end of each bird’s beak is an “egg tooth,” a sharp bump that helps puncture the egg membranes and shell, then drops off within a few weeks.
Continue reading "New penguin chicks on exhibit at Shedd" »