PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – For the first time ever, a macaroni penguin has hatched at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

The chick was born on May 12, and weighed only a half-pound.

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It was small enough to fit into the palm of a hand.

Now at two weeks old, the chick is already one-and-a-half pounds and the zoo says it is doing well.

The proud parents of the little macaroni penguin, distinguished by wispy yellow feathers on their heads, have reason for concern.

Penguin keeper Katy Wozniak removed their newborn chick Friday. They have no way of knowing that the little bird is simply being weighed.

This is the first successful breeding of a macaroni penguin at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium.

“We’ve had the macaronis for a long time, but some of them are older, which are past breeding age, but some of the ones that are younger are now going through their breeding behaviors,” the penguin keeper says. “So they did lay an egg, and it hatched on May 12.”

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Though it’s their first offspring, Wozniak says the mac parents have bonded with the fuzzy little newcomer.

“They’re very protective of the chick. We can’t even get that close to the chick. They’re feeding it on a regular basis, and they’re doing wonderful,” she said.

She says the chick will develop the black and white waterproofing feathers in just a few months.

“And then the parents actually kind of bring them out into the exhibit, stand right by the water’s edge, and they kind of give him a friendly nudge to get into the water, and they teach their chick to swim,” Wozniak said.

She says they haven’t come up with a name for the newcomer because, “we can’t determine the sex of the chick until it reaches sexual maturity, around 3 or 4 years of age. So we do want to name it, but it would have to go for both genders.”

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