Four new members of the New England Aquarium penguin family have made their first public debut.
The little blue penguin chicks — named Goose, Wedge, Derwent and Miramar — made their on-exhibit entrance Thursday morning after having hatched about 80 days ago.
They’ve already grown to nearly the size of adult blue penguins since “birds grow outrageously fast,” the aquarium noted in a statement, but they’re still pretty small. In fact, little blue penguins are the smallest penguin species in the world, and are found in Australia and New Zealand. These new chicks were named after places where you can find little blue penguins in Australia.
These chicks’ parents have also recently returned to the penguin exhibit in the center of the New England Aquarium over the past few weeks.
In the months since hatching, the chicks’ fluffy down has been replaced by waterproof feathers, and they’ve learned how to be hand-fed by the aquarium’s penguin staff.
“The chicks are now ready to take their place on exhibit,” the aquarium said in a statement, “and quite literally find their place in their pecking order.”
The New England Aquarium has nearly 100 penguins of three different species. Little blue penguins stand out not just because of their small size, but because of their color. Instead of being black and white like most other penguins, little blue penguins are a grayish blue.
As these four little blue chicks get used to the exhibit, more babies may be joining them soon — African penguin couples are currently in the aquarium basement preparing to hatch their own chicks.