Penguins 101

Penguins at Bluff Cove.

IMG_0838 king penguins (800x535)

King penguins nesting in the midst of Gentoo penguins and sharing the land with upland geese.

There are 18 varieties of penguin. A colony of penguins is called a rookery. The king penguin is the larger and more recognizable with the yellow cravat. The smallest penguins are the Rock Hoppers weighing in at 5 pounds and standing 21 inches tall. They are very agile and able to jump about the craggy rocky cliffs.

King penguins keep their eggs on top of their large feet, and keep them warm by keeping them covered with a flap of belly fat. One parent goes out for a few days to feed in the ocean, then returns to care for the egg while the other parent goes out to feed. They are careful not to drop the egg when they transfer it from one pair of feet to the other. The process can take about 30 minutes.

Magellanic penguins dig a shallow burrow type nest in the shade of a low shrub. Eggs laid in October, hatch in November. The chicks are about 6 inches tall and grow quickly.  In the first week of January they are almost as tall as their parents. The parents walk about a half kilometer to the shore then swim for several days to feed on anchovies. (without the pizza) When they return they feed the young ones with the rich fish oils which support their rapid growth. The parents regurgitate the fish to feed the young. The Magellanic, is also called the “jack ass” penguin because of the noise they make. So you not only see the sights, you experience the auditory and olfactory experience as well. My daughter says they are so cute, they are allowed to stink and be noisy.

I hope you are experiencing life with all of your senses, i.e.  sing, dance, and “stop and smell the roses”.

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