New England Aquarium: Penguins Again

Back in the Penguin exhibit today, and while much of the day’s work mirrored that of Tuesday’s, two very cool things happened. First, Paul Leonard tasked me with feeding the Little Blue penguins. Little Blues, also known as Fairy penguins, are the smallest species of penguins–many visitors to the aquarium mistake them for juveniles–and also happen to be my favorite, so I was very excited to get to work so closely with them. Feeding penguins can be a bit tricky, as you have to put the fish directly into the bird’s mouth before they’ll grab and eat them. This leads to a delicate balancing act, as one must push the fish far enough that they’ll grab on, but not so far that they’ll grab onto one’s fingers. After a few minor bites, I got the hand of things, and managed to get everyone fed and learn to identify a few more birds in the process.
Once feeding was done, everyone jumped straight into cleaning the exhibit, with even more vigor than usual. You see, we’d just found out that morning that Jeff Corwin, of Animal Planet fame, was at the aquarium to shoot a PSA on global warming, and would be in the penguin tank at 11AM sharp to film with the Africans. This didn’t leave us much time to clean up after the morning feed, so we had to work extra hard to get everything looking pristine for the cameras. I had the privilege of staying in the tank while Mr. Corwin was being filmed, and used to opportunity to take some notes on how a nature documentary crew goes about their work. It was great to see Jeff speaking from his heart, rather than using a script, and the penguins sure loved him; Possession, an male African who had taken a shine to following me around the entire tank, climbed up next to Jeff and nuzzled his leg during the entire shoot, while Plum Pudding and In-guza, a breeding pair, took the opportunity to get a bit…intimate right next to him, resulting in a lot of laughs from everyone involved.
After the filming was done, Jeff toured the rest of the tank and then heading off to get some footage with the fur seals, while we all fell back into the same routine; celebrities may come and go, but the animals are always there, and they are always hungry!