King Penguin Chick Joins Moody Gardens Family

Well, folks, we have good news to share with you.

On Monday, Feb. 15, we welcomed our first king penguin chick of the year into the world! The newborn weighed in at healthy 190 grams and is growing rapidly by the minute! Lando and Littlefoot are the parents.

We found shell fragments during our morning cleaning, and sure enough, egg had hatched! Throughout the breeding season, our role is to monitor that parents are, well, being the parents. We are there to make sure the birds are healthy and provide support only when needed.

King Chick Being from the Southern Hemisphere of the world, and more specifically, South Georgia Island, the penguins observe opposite seasons from Texas. This makes winter in the Continental U.S. their summer time and the prime breeding season. King penguins, unlike their smaller counterparts such as chinstrap and gentoo penguins, carry the unhatched eggs and newborns in between their feet while the parents take turns. Because of the way the eggs are handled, penguin eggs are much thicker and more durable than regular bird eggs. The incubation period of this species of penguins is longer than that of the smaller species and lasts about two months. Once chicks are born, they also take longer to become full grown.

Speaking of smaller species, we now have a total of four gentoo chicks, all growing healthy, in the back holding area of the South Atlantic Exhibit, where they will remain until they are fledged out and are strong enough to swim. While penguins are built to swim, as chicks, they seem to trade cuteness for buoyancy. By doing this, we can prevent any accidents.

The king chick will be on exhibit with its parents for a few more weeks. Check our Webcam periodically to catch us feeding the birds or just simply watch them chill out.

Stay cool,
Chris St. Romain
Moody Gardens Penguin Biologist

Second Annual Penguin Groundhog Day

Penguin ShadowIf you are anxious to know when this arctic winter is going to be over with, you are in luck. This Groundhog Day, a real Moody Gardens penguin will forecast spring on Galveston Island at Moody Gardens Tuesday, Feb. 2 in anticipation of spring break. In groundhog fashion, an Aquarium Pyramid bird will make its own prediction based on whether or not it sees its shadow. The penguin will then communicate with Greg Whittaker, Moody Gardens animal husbandry manager, who will translate the “Penguish” declaration into the human language.

General public is invited to witness the Penguin Groundhog Day ceremony and proclamation. Admission is free. Please meet us in front of the Aquarium Pyramid.

AT A GLANCE
What: Penguin Groundhog Day
When: Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Aquarium Pyramid (Outside)
Admission: Free and open to the public

King Tux Picks a Baby Penguin Name

The winning name is SQUIRT! Congratulations and thank you to Laurel Sterling from Crosby, Texas for the great name! Laurel also won a family four-pack to the Moody Gardens attractions and a penguin encounter which gives her a chance to meet a real penguin up close and personal.

Having trouble viewing the video? Watch it on YouTube: Name the Baby Penguin Contest Winner Announced

Name the Baby Penguin Contest!

Submit a name and you could win a penguin prize package for four and meet a real penguin!

Moody Gardens Penguin ChickEnter one of two ways:

1)    Submit your entry in the Registration Box at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid
2)    Email your entry to namethepenguin@moodygardens.com (Be sure to include your name, age, phone number and address with your email entry)

Contest dates:  Dec. 18, 2009 – Jan. 1, 2010
Prize Awarded:  King Tux the Moody Gardens Penguin Mascot will choose the winning entry Jan. 3

Please note: Contestants must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older to use their prize.

Penguins, penguins, penguins… Baby boom continues.

Over in the South Atlantic exhibit at the Aquarium Pyramid, we’ve got big news! We just had our first penguin egg hatching of the season! This kicked off what appears to be the penguin baby boom this season with 24 eggs laid.

Our gentoo penguins Wiley and Marvin are now the proud parents of an adorable 94-gram chick. After around a month of incubating, the egg had a pip hole in it the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 5. The Moody Gardens penguin biologists kept a close vigil throughout the day on Sunday, making sure the hatching process was going smoothly. Finally, on Monday morning, Dec. 7, we found a new member of our colony! After a quick check-up to get weight and a nice poop on the scale, it was back to mom and dad for our young chick.

Three Gentoo penguin chicks are now a part of the Moody Gardens family.
Three Gentoo penguin chicks are now a part of the Moody Gardens family.

Additionally, our most recent king penguin hatchlings, now all grown up, are bound for the Central Park Zoo. Four of our birds, Lyle, Fred, Ducky DeLorenzo and Julian, left for the Empire State last Wednesday to join the Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins already residing in the Polar Circle section of the Zoo.

But wait…there’s more!

On Dec. 10, another chick hatched out, this one belonging to our gentoo penguins Casper and Ren! You can view them on the Webcam by checking out the ledge on the far right-hand side of the screen.

Finally, on Dec. 13, Quagmire and Marge’s first egg hatched. This is a very important milestone for our gentoo penguins because Quagmire is the first gentoo born at Moody Gardens to successfully hatch an egg. While their nest is out of range on the PenguinCam, if you visit the Moody Gardens Penguin Exhibit and look to the far left on the ridge above the water, you will be able to get an unobstructed view of the nest. Also, look for the biologists trying desperately to check on the chick and not fall off the ledge and into the 54-degree water! This brings the tally for this season so far up to three hatchings, with several more expected.

Keep checking the PenguinCam to get a gull’s eye view of our colony, and see some of our nests as the breeding season continues.

Stay Cool,
Chris St. Romain
Moody Gardens Penguin Biologist