Posts Tagged 'puffins'



Name our new puffin chick!

On June 24, we welcomed the arrival of a puffin hatchling! This was just the second successful puffin chick to hatch at the National Aquarium. During breeding season, puffins lay only one egg in a clutch. If that egg is crushed or infertile, they may replace the egg, but generally puffins lay just one egg and raise one chick a year. puffin chick

The Atlantic puffin hatched after a 37-day incubation period. During that time, the parents–named Victor and Vixen–took turns incubating the egg by nestling it between their body and wing to keep it warm. Upon hatching, the chick weighed just 40 grams. For the first month, the parents cared for the chick in their burrow, while the Aquarium aviculturists monitored the chick’s growth and health carefully.

It is always best to keep young animals with their parents whenever possible. In this case, the parents did a great job helping the young chick grow and learn how to be a puffin! After one month, the chick weighed more than 350 grams and was eating 10-15 fish a day.

Continue reading ‘Name our new puffin chick!’

Puffins return to a new home

We are happy to share that the Sea Cliffs exhibit is back open and our feathered friends are adjusting nicely to their new home. This exhibit is home to our Atlantic puffins, razorbills and black guillemots and was closed this winter for renovations.

The actual layout of the exhibit did not change as it was already well designed to recreate the birds’ natural nesting environment. The habitat includes rocky outcroppings and a pool that holds nearly 6,500 gallons of water. According to our animal care staff, the Aquarium puffins behave much the same as they would in a natural habitat.

Our exhibits and design team gave the habitat a much-needed polish and added new visual elements to the rocky land. Watch as our Atlantic puffins, razorbills, and black guillemots return from their short sabbatical into a new, and updated home!

Polishing the puffin exhibit

If you have visited the Aquarium recently, you’ve probably noticed that our popular Sea Cliffs Exhibit on level 4 is closed for renovations.  The Aquarium puffins, razorbills and black guillemots are taking a short sabbatical while our Exhibits and Design team gives their home a thorough clean and polish!

The birds have moved to special offsite quarters that maintain exhibit temperatures of 50°F, and water quality analysts monitor the temporary freshwater systems created for these little divers.

The Sea Cliffs exhibit is designed to recreate the birds’ natural nesting environment. It includes rocky outcroppings and a pool that holds nearly 6,500 gallons of water. According to our animal care staff, the Aquarium puffins behave much the same as they would in a natural habitat. The staff also add special enrichments to the exhibit that encourages the birds to play and interact with their habitat.

Check out the video below to see some of these enrichment activities, and be sure to enter our Fish Friday contest below!

Today is Fish Friday and we have another contest for our followers!

Name one of the enrichment items featured in the video that these birds can eat.

Please post your answer as a comment to this post by 5 p.m. EST today, January 22nd. Correct answers will be entered into a drawing for a puffin prize pack featuring two tickets to the National Aquarium and a puffin plush! The winner will be awarded on Monday, January 25th. Good luck!

Stork stops by Sea Cliffs exhibit

The National Aquarium is happy to welcome “Squirt”, the newest addition to the puffin colony in the Sea Cliffs exhibit.  Hatching sometime last night after a 34 day incubation period, this is the second successful hatching for our orange banded female and black banded male. Puffins form a pair bond and typically return to the same nest ground year after year. This pair’s first chick hatched in 2006, and was the first puffin born at the Aquarium!

Squirt weighs just 37 grams right now but should grow to be about 32 cm, or 12 inches, tall. He will remain in the nest box which is located on the far left side of the exhibit for several weeks and will be fed by both parent birds there.

Squirt the Puffin


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