Say hello to Chicago’s newest fuzzy friends. Two Magellanic penguin chicks just came to town, and the Shedd Aquarium is giving everyone a first look at how the little guys are doing so far.
Earlier this spring, Magellanic and rockhopper penguins started their annual breeding season in the Polar Play Zone exhibit. The first hatchling arrived on April 29, and the second hatched on May 5.
Though the Shedd Aquarium has been back open since January, these penguins are staying behind the scenes for now. The two are being reared by adult pairs who will keep the chicks warm and fed as they continue to grow, the aquarium said.
The animal care team is keeping an eye on the chicks, collecting weights and monitoring for any developmental milestones, but otherwise, they are keeping their distance to let the hatchlings bond with the adults.
Speaking of milestones, the most important one right now, the aquarium says, is weight gain. When they hatched, Chick 426 and 427 weighed around 89 grams — a number that only continues to increase.
Magellanic penguin chicks are full-grown after two to three months, but until then, the animal care team said they will be looking to monitor activity, hydration levels and more.
The hatchlings are part of the aquarium’s participation in a larger conservation effort for the Magellanic penguins. The species is listed as nearly threatened by the Internation Union for Conservation of Nature.
And this effort didn’t just start with these two chicks. Following nesting season last year, the aquarium hatched four Magellanic chicks: Porter, Popi, Dee and Sir Elio. Those four became fully grown in October.
There may even be more hatchlings this year, the aquarium said.