Meet Marge! The National Aviary Introduces Their Fluffy New Penguin Chick to the World

Marge hatched at Pittsburgh’s National Aviary in January, and she is the first chick for penguin parents Buddy and Holly

The National Aviary in Pittsburgh recently introduced their new penguin chick after determining the baby bird’s sex. The sex was determined by a DNA feather test, which revealed the chick is female. After receiving the news, the aviary gave the honor of naming the bird to “generous donor, board member, and friend” Rich Caruso, according to a release from the facility.

Caruso chose to name the penguin chick Marge in honor of his mother.

“I am pleased to work with the National Aviary to name their new African Penguin chick in honor of my mother, Margaret Caruso, and I would like to thank the National Aviary for their exemplary work saving birds and protecting their habitats,” Caruso said in a statement. “My mother is nearing her 100th birthday, and she loves the National Aviary and is looking forward to visiting again to see Marge, the penguin, once the pandemic ends.”

While Marge was born in January, it took several months to determine her sex since there is no way to tell an African penguin chick’s sex visually. The National Aviary waited until Marge’s juvenile feathers grew in so that they could use a feather in a DNA test.

Marge is the eleventh African penguin to hatch at the aviary and the first chick for parents Buddy and Holly.

The National Aviary participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African penguins, which is “a collaborative effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited institutions,” the aviary’s release shared. “SSPs work to enhance conservation of the species and ensure the entire population of African Penguins remains genetically diverse and demographically stable for the long-term future.”

According to the National Aviary, there are just 13,000 pairs of African penguins left in the wild, so Marge’s birth is significant.

The aviary’s new chick is growing up healthy and strong, which aviary visitors can see up close. Marge currently makes daily appearances in the aviary’s Avian Care Center window from 12:30-2:00 p.m.