With all the buzz about Peyton Manning’s frequent use of "Omaha" during signal-calling, one of the newborn penguin chicks at the Henry Doorly Zoo has been named after the Denver quarterback.
“When Nebraska Tourism reached out to us about this idea we thought it would be a really cool way to say thanks to Mr. Manning for using the word 'Omaha' in his pre-snap chants," said zoo director Dennis Pate. "We hope that Mr. Manning and his family will consider coming to Nebraska to say hi to his namesake sometime in the near future.”
Five rockhopper penguin chicks hatched between December 23rd and December 27th weighing from .87 to 1.11 pounds. Typically, adult birds will raise their own chicks, but these eggs were hand raised due to increased activity levels in the exhibit.
“I think the whole world knows how much Nebraskan’s love football, so it’s fun to hear such a great quarterback chanting out our largest city’s name hundreds of times per game," said Nebraska Tourism’s executive director Kathy McKillip. "We get a kick out of it and are happy for Peyton and his team. We wish them continued success in all that they do."
Rockhopper chicks are fed five times a day and eat a fish and krill formula that is made fresh daily and packed with all the vitamins and minerals the growing chicks need. They also eat small fish filets until they progress to whole fish.
Since the chicks consume 10 percent of their body weight at each feeding, it is very important for the keepers to tell them apart. Each chick has one foot marked with a non-toxic paint to allow keepers to identify them. Once old enough, the chicks will have wing bands just like the other adult penguins on display.
In the wild, this species resides in the South Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. They are currently listed as vulnerable with a declining population, on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List due to fisheries, loss of habitat and oil spills.