Less than a month into nesting season, keepers found not one but two eggs in our penguin habitat this week.
The first egg was found on Thursday in the nest of Macaronis Sweet Pea (pink bands) and Paulie (gray bands). While the pair has not yet reproduced successfully, they were also the first pair to lay an egg last year - and our keepers even caught that moment on video!
Today, a second egg made its appearance in the nest of Little Debbie (red bands) and Hercules (black bands). This pair has one previous chick together named Bacon (lime green bands).
Macaronis, like other crested penguins, typically lay two eggs each year. The first egg is usually much smaller than the second which follows a couple of days later. By the time the second egg is laid, the first is usually broken or discarded. There is still some debate about why this happens. Scientists once theorized that the first egg might help to distract predators in the wild or perhaps serves as a sign that a nest is occupied. However, further research has shown that neither theory holds up. Our keepers feel like the first egg makes the two Macaronis realize they need to stay together in that nest to care for the second egg. It sort of seals the deal for them as a couple for the season, since they don’t always keep the same mate year after year.
Since both of these eggs are firsts for each of these pairs, our penguin experts will be keeping a particularly watchful eye on these nests over the weekend.
With nest building and eggs this spring, and the possibility of chicks this summer, it’s a great time for penguin watching at the Aquarium. In between visits, you can keep up with all of the action on our live Penguins’ Rock Cam.
UPDATE: Since the original publish date of this blog post, a second egg has been spotted in the nest of Sweet Pea and Paulie. Additionally, a first egg was found with fellow Macaronis Shamrock and Hercules, as well as our first Gentoo egg of the year with Bug and Big T!