What's a puffling? Come see at the Aquarium!

Have you ever heard of a puffling (a baby puffin)? Did you know that male seahorses carry their young until they are ready to be born? Well, those are just a couple of the fun things you might learn if you come down and see some of the newest additions to the Aquarium!

 

BABY TUFTED PUFFIN

 

Puffling

 

Is there a cuter name for a baby bird than “puffling”? You might be hard pressed to find one. Members of our animal care team were excited to announce that a new puffin chick had hatched after 43 days of incubation on August 4, 2019. The puffling, who staff have affectionately named “Boomer,” was born as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) species survival plan. If you visit the Birds & Shores exhibit soon, you may see Boomer’s parents bringing fish back for their baby to eat. And, once Boomer reaches 45 days old, you may be able to catch a glimpse outside the burrow!

Tufted puffins are found in the northern hemisphere, and they’re known as “parrots of the sea” for their distinctive coloring. In the summer, their bill plate, legs and face are transformed from dull to bright colors in order to attract a mate. These diving birds can seem to fly through the water as they search for shrimp, herring, squid and more.

Like all species that live in marine environments, tufted puffins need our help to preserve their homes and food supplies. Some of the hazards faced by tufted puffins include pesticides, oil spills, fishing nets and destruction of their habitat. By working together to preserve the ocean, we can help preserve these beautiful and fascinating birds.

 

TWO LINED SEAHORSES

 

Lined seahorse baby

 

Come check out the new lined seahorses that were born in the Aquarium this past February. As happens with all seahorses, a male incubated the fertilized eggs in a special pouch until the babies were ready for birth. Born at the tiny length of less than half an inch, at five months of age they were moved to our Tropical Pacific exhibit, where they can be seen now. As they reach maturity, they may grow to be up to six inches long.

Lined seahorses are sneaky predators that use camouflage to ambush the prey that they suck into their snouts. Not known for their swimming skills, seahorses use a prehensile tail to cling to plant life or coral that matches their markings and texture. Come visit to learn more about these fascinating creatures!

 

RESCUED SNOWY PLOVER

 

Snowy plover

 

Like all shorebirds at the Aquarium, “Crush” the snowy plover is a rehabilitated resident that can no longer survive in the wild—in this case, due to a permanently injured wing. It took Crush some time to acclimate to her new home since this species is easily startled and very cautious, but you can now visit her at our Birds & Shores exhibit.

These small birds can grow to be up to about six inches long, and they have brown and gray markings that help them blend in with sand and rocks. You may see snowy plovers dashing back and forth along the water at the beach, staying ahead of the surf and following it as it retreats as they search for small invertebrates to eat. They’re also found inland at sandy lake shores and river gravel bars.

Shorebirds all over the world face several threats, including overfishing, plastics in their food web and habitat destruction. Since snowy plovers lay their eggs in the sand, one way we can help preserve them in the wild is by being careful not to disturb these birds when we walk along the shoreline.

You can see all our new residents and many other amazing creatures when you visit the Aquarium. We also have many daily and special seasonal events you can check out at our events page. Hope to see you soon!

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