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Breeding Season begins! – Guest Blog by Tricia McDeed

Posted By Elizabeth Geli     November 22, 2016    

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Over the next few weeks we’ll share highlights and updates from penguin breeding season at Antarctica, Empire of the Penguins at SeaWorld Orlando.

 

 

By Tricia McDeed

 

This is one of the most exciting times of the year at Antarctica, Empire of the Penguins!  It is the beginning of our penguin breeding season, the time of year when the aviculture department works together as a unit to prepare for several months of nest building, incubation, and chick rearing.  The season officially started on October 6th, the day we installed the rookeries!

 

Because the needs of our penguins vary on the species, we provide different areas of breeding/nesting grounds throughout the entire exhibit!  Our rookeries are raised grated platforms providing a flat dry space for the birds to stand.  King penguins prefer to incubate their one egg here, together as a mob, with each individual out of jabbing distance from their neighbor. 

 

We also provide sand filled inner tubes to areas where some of the smaller species of penguins claim as their prized nesting spots above the exhibit’s snowy substrate.   River rocks are then added by the crate load, filling each of these nest sites.   The mated pairs will continue to build on their nests throughout the breeding season by either finding river rocks on the snowy ground or by stealing from their neighbor when they aren’t looking! Stay tuned for more updates on this special time of year!

 

About the Author: Tricia McDeed has been intrigued with the outdoors since childhood growing up in Florida.  Her passion and curiosity of flora and fauna have led her to not only become an accomplished artist, but she presently participates in conservation projects around the world.  Currently working at SeaWorld as a senior aviculturist, she spends her time caring for many species of endemic and exotic birds, including six species of penguins.