The photo was taken as the Zoo was about to close and I was on my way out, exactly one week before the first lockdown hit us, in March of last year.
At the very end of May, Philip and Tisa were “re-re-re-introduced” to each other and they began to breed the very same day. They bred again the next day, too; and when they went out on exhibit together on Day Three Tisa had had enough of Philip’s advances, but no problem: they just lay down a few feet apart, rooting and nibbling on whatever they dug up.
When I called Homer and held the photo up for him to see, he was very interested in it, cocking his head back and forth and stretching out his neck to get a better look. I don’t imagine he knew it was a photo of him, but I would think he would recognize his own species when he sees it. That was quite a bit of fun!
When I drive into the Zoo’s parking lot, I patiently wait for them to cross the road. Sometimes I lean out the window and say, “You guys do realize you can fly, right?” but that’s just a running joke between us. When I exit my car and head into the Zoo proper, I find myself always saying “hello” to the nearest geese. And I worry about them in the winter; not to the point where I have ever fed them myself – I stop short of that – but on the bitterly cold days I do keep an eye out to see if any are particularly struggling.
This is the very first photo I’ve ever featured in one of my calendars that was not shot at the Toronto Zoo. There will be more to come throughout this year for each of the two calendars: “Adult” and “Baby.”
The success of the Toronto Zoo’s breeding program for these adorable but endangered little birds is fantastic and speaks volumes for the incredible work the Keepers do there. As I have mentioned before – and which any of you who have known me longer than just a couple of years already knew – penguins have been my favourite creatures for most of my life and watching the interactions between all of the Keepers who work with them and the tiny denizens of the Zoo’s penguin exhibit is always heart-warming, to say the least.
Keep your fingers crossed that these beautiful animals might appear on the next Baby Boom calendar! Read the story to find out why….
My most-anticipated birth of all the babies I’ve featured in this calendar. I adore this little dude! Come hear Nandu’s story!