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A new baby at the Biodôme

Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)
Credit: Éric Charette (Biodôme)
Macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)
A new baby at the Biodôme

It’s autumn in Montréal, meaning it’s spring in the Antarctic and spring for our penguins. Moreover, one of our macaroni penguin couples (Eudyptes chrysolophus), recognizable by the yellow crest above their eyes, gave birth to an adorable chick on November 8.

The happy parents had two eggs in early October. As is usually the case with this species, of the two eggs laid, only the second one was kept. Since the Biodôme’s inauguration, 21 macaroni penguins have been born here.

Vigilant parents

At hatching, our new resident weighed barely 125 grams. By five days, his weight had more than doubled, reaching 312 grams, which is perfectly normal, and even recommended, for a young penguin. Its parents are very much a presence in its life, and look after it diligently. Actually, these are experienced penguins: they’ve already had three chicks together since the Biodôme opened.

Ensuring chicks’ survival

Macaroni penguins grow up fast. Around the age of 40 days the young penguin tends to want to leave the nest and explore the vast world. This exposes it to dangers, even in an environment as protected as the Biodôme’s. On the one hand, other adults – whose territory it might cross or whose nests it might disturb – could attack him. On the other, he could quite simply drown in the basin. As it happens, the young are covered in down until the age of roughly three months. But it’s the real feathers that guarantee the bird’s waterproofing.

Training and stress reduction

So we’re taking advantage of this period to remove the young one from the habitat and begin the weaning process. This lasts on average about 30 days, and allows us to initiate the bird’s biomedical training program. We teach it to be touched and to be fed by hand, to get up on the scale, to move around as directed, and so on. All this is designed to lower stress levels during animal handling and veterinary care.

The young one’s weaning period will come to an end when it sports all its feathers and is as comfortable in the water as any penguin. At that point it will rejoin the members of our macaroni colony in the Sub-Antarctic Islands ecosystem.

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2 Comment(s)
Jeanette's picture
Jeanette

I have a gift certificate through airmiles. It is for 3 people and covers all four parts of espace pour la vie. It expires at the end of February and I have heard that the biodome will be closing for renovations. Will you still honour an expired gift certificate if we can’t go before then??

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Space for life

Dear Jeanette,

Since the Biodôme will close on Monday Feb 12, you have until Feb 11 to redeem your coupons. If you can't come before, we will be able to exchange them for either the Planetarium or the Botanical Garden, so you can enjoy twice one of the other museums.

Regards,

The blog team

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