The first Humboldt penguin chicks of the year have hatched at Woodland Park Zoo. The first chick hatched on April 3 to 4-year-old mother Sardinia and 9-year-old father Groucho. But the parents then rejected second egg, so it was given to a pair of foster parents, where it hatched a couple of days later.
Humboldt penguin chick that hatched in 2010. Photo by Ryan Hawk, Woodland Park Zoo.
Both hatchlings are off exhibit in nesting burrows. As part of the animal protocols for penguin chicks, staff weigh the chicks as they develop. The chicks remain under the care of the parents while staff ensure they are achieving acceptable weight gains. It is the zoo’s goal to minimize staff intervention and allow the parents to raise their chicks and gain parental experience. If necessary, zookeepers offer supplemental feedings to chicks that fall behind the growth curve or if there is a large age difference between siblings.
Four additional eggs are expected to hatch between April 16 and 26.
Before the new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they will be removed from the nest so keepers staff can condition the birds to approach staff for feeding and other animal care activities. The chicks also will have round-the-clock access to a shallow pool where they can swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment. The chicks will join the colony of penguins in the outdoor exhibit sometime by mid-summer.