Featured Image Credit: http://news.georgiaaquarium.org
By: Kira Krall
The Georgia Aquarium will be debuting new residents to the public just a few weeks after the New Year. Common murres, pigeon guillemots, horned puffins, and crested puffins will make their new home in Atlanta right next to their sea otter neighbors. The exhibit will be a replica of their natural rocky seaside habitat and will give visitors a land and sea view.
These birds are built for life in the water and will put on quite the aquatic show for Aquarium guests. A few birds have already landed in Georgia. Watch the video below to get a look at the new puffins!
While graceful in the water, navigating the land and skies is quite the opposite for these North Pacific birds. But just like most life in the ocean, they migrate to the best breeding colonies and feeding grounds depending on the time of year. They’re found along the rocky shores of Washington, Alaska, and Canada during the breeding season and head back out to sea to feast on marine delicacies like fish, squid, and crustaceans.
The new North Pacific seabird exhibit is a partnership with the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. They’re part of a response team that cares for stranded animals, including beluga whales and seal species. The Georgia Aquarium is also partnering with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to develop a Species Survival Plan for these four species of seabirds. The Plan will outline a genetically diverse breeding program that will provide animals that could be released into the wild if a population declines. While these four species aren’t threatened yet, changes in pack ice density and other climate factors affect the prey of these marine birds and could change their life history in the coming years.
The new exhibit will open on Friday, January 19th, 2018 Visit the Georgia Aquarium’s Cold Water Quest to get a look at the pelagic seabirds!