The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland has welcomed a new baby puffin named Macaroni. The adorable seabird joins siblings Gnocchi and Ravioli in the Sea Cliffs exhibit. Each family of puffins at the aquarium gets their own themed names and this clan makes up the pasta gang.
The National Aquarium posted about Macaroni’s birth on Facebook on Sept. 20 and included an adorable video of the tiny puffin being weighed on a scale.
“World, say hello to Macaroni,” read the post. “This lil’ noodle is the latest Atlantic Puffin chick (or puffling) to hatch at the Aquarium. Parents Staypuft and Viggo will be keeping a watchful eye on Macaroni in their burrow for the next 40 or so days, until this puffling is fledged and ready to explore!”:
Text captions on the video explain that puffin chicks are born with thick down coats to keep them warm and that they weigh between 30 and 40 grams upon hatching. Macaroni tipped the scales at 43 grams, so he’s a bit on the bigger side as far as newborns go.
We can’t wait to see how the little guy has grown and changed when he emerges from his family’s burrow in a month or so. He should be fully fledged (feathered) by then!
In 2018, the National Aquarium welcomed three new puffins — Vega, Sage and Macaroni’s sibling, Ravioli. Vega is part of a lineage identified by names starting with “V,” while Sage is part of a family with nature-based names. Puffins typically lay one egg per year.
Puffins are monogamous, so Macaroni’s parents, Viggo and Staypuft, have returned to the same nesting ground to breed on an annual basis. Here’s hoping that they add a few more fluffy chicks to their brood in the years to come. Lasagna and Linguine, perhaps?
The puffins are part of a Species Survival Plan, an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) program that seeks to ensure sustainability for Atlantic puffins as well as other endangered species through human care. AZA member zoos work together to manage captive populations and increase genetic diversity in each species.
The aquarium also regularly participates in the National Audubon Society’s Project Puffin, a conservation program for puffins and other seabirds.
Welcome to the world, Macaroni!