Victor and Vixen, a pair of Atlantic Puffins that hatched the National Aquarium’s first Puffin chick in 2006, have done it again: They hatched their fourth chick on July 4.
Puffins co-parent their young and take turns incubating the egg, protecting their nest, and carrying back small fish to keep their chick happily fed.
The Aquarium’s Puffins nest in special enclosures created to mimic the deep burrows typically used by their species on the coastlines of western Europe, Greenland, Iceland, and the northeastern coast of North America. In the wild, Puffin couples have been observed reuniting at the same burrow site year after year.
Since hatching, the chick has been closely watched by staff aviculturists. Keepers report that the baby is steadily gaining weight and appears to be quite healthy.
The baby Puffin will remain in its burrow several weeks before it begins making short exploratory trips into the exhibit.
Puffins are estimated to number in the millions, although hunting and egg harvesting have reduced populations in some parts of their range. Puffins are a national delicacy in Iceland.