Love is reportedly in the air at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, where penguins have commenced their "exciting and raucous" breeding season.
According to a aquarium spokeswoman, the penguins' breeding season is kicked off with male rockhopper and Magellanic penguins busily searching out the best rocks with which they can construct their cribs, er, nests.
(Scroll down to view photos of the birds.)
The Shedd has placed dozens of the sort of smooth river rocks that the penguins rely on for their nest construction and entice the birds to commence building by putting out twigs, which help emulate the shrubs under which the birds typically build in their natural habitats. By the time the week of nestbuilding is complete, the aquarium's penguin exhibit will be marked by several new nests.
The nest construction process can get pretty feisty, according to a museum news release as, reportedly, rock theft is a fairly common practice for those flightless birds ruthlessly endeavoring to create the best nest in the oceanarium.
View photos, which appear courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium, of the penguins setting up the new digs they hope will help attract a fly mate: