From YouTube: “A wild raven perched himself on our fence and squawked for over an hour. I went to see what was up with him and saw that he had four porcupine quills stuck in him, three in the side of his face and one in his wing. This video shows my Mom taking out the ones in his face. Very bizarre he let us get that close and even more bizzare he let my Mom pull the quills out. He hung around for the day and was gone the next. Best of luck Wilfred (yeah, I named him) lol.”
Tennessee Aquarium visitors are having fun acting as “penguin paparazzi,” each one hoping to capture the perfect picture of a fuzzy new bird. “The guests really love seeing this little Macaroni chick,” said senior aviculturist Amy Graves. “They ask a lot of great questions about baby penguins and the other birds currently incubating eggs.”
This newest addition is the first offspring for parents “Merlin” and “Sweet Pea,” but they seem to be adjusting to parenthood quickly. “They make an awesome combination,” said Graves. “Merlin is a good protector and Sweet Pea is very nurturing and better at feeding the chick.”
New penguin parents don’t always have the best parental instincts. While Merlin and Sweet Pea have done a pretty good job so far, the Aquarium’s penguin experts have had to supplement the feeding routine a couple of times to ensure this tiny bird was receiving enough nutrients. Fortunately this pair has a gentle demeanor that makes caring for the chick a bit easier. “Both Sweet Pea and Merlin are really laid-back with easy-going personalities,” said Graves. “That makes it easier for us to perform regular weight checks, clean the nest and feed when necessary.”
Guests can see this chick in an acrylic “plaype”” on the right-hand side of the exhibit. It has grown enough since hatching on May 31st to be visible most of the time. Although sometimes visitors may only see its bottom. “Merlin still likes to try tucking the chick under him for protection even though it’s too big to fit underneath,” Graves said with a chuckle. “The chick still wants to be tucked in, so every once in awhile you’ll see its head underneath Merlin.”
A blood test will be performed later to determine the gender of this new penguin.