Woodland Park Zoo has a new penguin chick, which hatched on April Fool’s Day. This is the first penguin chick since the new exhibit opened last May.
(Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.)
This is the first offspring for mother Dora and father PJ, both 3 years old. The chick weighs 2.1 ounces. The second egg in their nest is expected to hatch on Easter Sunday.
Humboldt penguin chicks hatch with grayish brown, downy feathers, which molt into completely gray feathers when they fledge. It will be early summer before any of the chicks emerge from the nesting burrows and venture outdoors into the public exhibit for visitors to enjoy.
Over the last few weeks, three pairs of Humboldt penguins have been sitting on two eggs each in the burrows specially constructed for the birds in their new exhibit. At least two of the remaining four eggs are fertile. Staff plans to candle the eggs every two weeks to determine if they are fertile, alive and developing properly. The process of candling involves holding an egg to a high powered and focused light for just a few seconds. The incubation period is approximately 40 days.
It is estimated that only 12,000 endangered Humboldt penguins survive in the wild.