I'll be honest: It was a little nerve-wracking. We worked so hard to raise these chicks and make sure that they would integrate with the rest of the colony. And they did! But, like my colleague Susan Cardillo—the zoo's assistant curator—says here, the day we watched the chicks go out on exhibit was a lot like sending the kids off to their first day of school.
I'm handing the mic over to Sue for this video post so she can describe that landmark morning.
It's amazing how fast they grow when they're young. In the beginning, even just coming back to work after a weekend, they would look huge to me. Thinking about birth in the Antarctic, you understand why they grow so quickly, because they have to be ready to go into the water and hunt as soon as that brief polar summer ends.
How many "firsts" can you remember—first day of school? First friend? First date? Being birds, our babyhood went by in the blink of an eye, but those early milestones are etched in our memories. In fact I'm getting misty just thinking about all those landmark moments.
Five meals a day. About 75 grams each. And that's not the size of the meal I'm talking about—it's the size of the chicks, right after they hatch. Every day, we feed our growing baby birds 10% of their body weight, a combo of formula "fish shakes" and filleted herring. Where do you think it all goes?