Some appetite! Our recently hatched common murre chicks are behind the scenes eating (and eating, and eating) in preparation for going on exhibit. It’s the first time we’ve ever had baby murres at the Aquarium!
The eggs, from different mothers, were taken behind the scenes and incubated by our aviculture staff. They hatched August 29 and 30. We take them behind the scenes for their health and safety, rather than keep them in a busy exhibit environment.
The chicks’ mothers have been with us for many years. One was rescued from the Apex Houston oil spill, which occurred off the northern California coast in January 1986. (In fact, at least one Aquarium employee, Janet Covell, was on the scene helping rescue murres.) Our pair was declared non-releasable by California Fish and Wildlife, and was raised at the Aquarium.
Although the species is not currently listed as threatened, all shorebirds face pressures from habitat damage and pollution. The chicks are being raised at the Aquarium under the auspices of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP).
The youngsters are growing fast and being hand-fed small fish every few hours, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. It’s a lot of work! We expect them to be big enough to go on exhibit in in mid October.
“We’re really excited to have these chicks at the Aquarium,” says Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “Especially since they were born to rescued mothers that have been here for a long time. It’s a great success story. Plus—they’re so cute!”
Watch our murres live in the Aviary
Learn more about the common murre