Penguins In Duck Country

June 28, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that three penguin chicks at the Oregon Zoo have emerged from their nests and are now exploring their surroundings. The Humboldt penguin chicks hatched in March, and Humboldt chicks usually fledge at about 3 months old.

The chicks — named Aqua, Xolas and Olle — are almost as tall as the adult birds, but are still gray and lack the classic tuxedo penguin pattern.  But fear not, they’ll grow into that outfit in a couple of years.  Wild Humboldt penguins live along the coast of Peru and Chile. The birds are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, according to a release from the zoo, and were granted protection in 2010 under the United States Endangered Species Act.

If you’re in the neighborhood, Oregon Zoo visitors can see the young birds  and all the other penguins waddling around and swimming in the zoo’s penguinarium.

A Humboldt penguin chick explores the Oregon Zoo Penguinarium

A Humboldt penguin chick explores the Oregon Zoo Penguinarium

 

King Penguin Chicks Have Built In GPS

June 26, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that displaced King penguin chicks navigate well in pairs as they find their way back to base in their colony, according to a new study. King penguin chicks gather together in “creches” as they wait for parents to return with food, and if a chick gets moved to a different place in the colony it is important to get back so that the parents can find it, says researcher Anna Nesterova from the University of Oxford in England. “King penguin colonies are very crowded and can stretch for more almost a mile on the relatively flat and featureless beaches, yet individual penguins still know how to find their place within such colonies,” she says.

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‘King penguin colonies are very crowded and can stretch for more than 1km on the relatively flat and featureless beaches, yet individuals know how to find their place within such colonies’

Nesterova and colleagues tracked 31 pairs of chicks that were artificially separated from their creches as they made their way back to the correct part of the Ratmanoff colony on the Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean about midway between Australia, South Africa and Antarctica.

Kerguelen_MapThe chicks navigated well in pairs, and even took turns leading in some cases. Also, pairs from the same creche arrived closer to their original location than pairs where the individual chicks were from different creches. The study, which was funded by the Institut Polaire Français and Marie Curie Actions and published in Animal Behaviour, will help us to better understand group navigation in animals, according to Nesterova, who was surprised at how quickly the chicks from different creches split up along their path back. “The chicks like to be in a group, but going towards the right destination seems to be more important,” she says. “It makes sense: if you do not know where your partner is heading, it is better not to take the risk and end up at the wrong end of the colony.”

The Day A Brooklyn Penguin Was Stolen

June 25, 2014
African Penguins at Coney Island Aquarium

African Penguins at Coney Island Aquarium

The Penguin Post has learned that on May 9, 1965 a bunch of teenagers made off with a penguin from the New York Aquarium in Coney Island and then took him for a ride on the subway.  Why would they steal a penguin, you ask?  They never really answered that question because the authorities never caught them, but the simple answer is most likely, why not?

The story goes like this: an MTA policeman was on routine patrol on the subway at Stillwell Avenue when he spots a group of teens hop on his subway car carrying a cardboard box. The kids spot the officer, and calmly leave the train at the next station, but leave the box with the penguin in it behind. The box begins to move getting the officers attention.

Being near the beach the policeman figures at first that it’s a seagull so he picks up the box to take it outside and release it.  Upon opening it and getting nipped  he notices this is not even close to being a seagull. It’s a penguin!

He then secures the box, assumes that this fugitive penguin has come from the aquarium and calls them to check.  Lo and behold the aquarium makes a penguin head count and they find they’re a penguin down, so the officer gets back on the train and a few stops later the penguin was returned safely.

BTW, a pilfered penguin incident happened again at the aquarium in 1967. After that the penguin exhibit was redesigned to keep the penguins in and people out.  The Penguin Post learned all this after stumbling across this fun New York Historical Society video.

 

Emperor Penguins On The Move

June 24, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that Emperor penguins, thought to be tied to a single breeding location, are willing to relocate their nesting grounds in response to climate change, according to a recent studies. 

penguinResearchers tracked penguin colonies through satellite images over three years and reported six instances of them shifting to different locations in response to changing temperatures.  Up until now, it was believed that emperor penguins return to the same breeding grounds annually. The behavior is also known as philopatric behavior.  “Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins,” said UM researcher Michelle LaRue, in the press release.  “If we assume that these birds come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn’t make any sense,” she said. ” These birds didn’t just appear out of thin air — they had to have come from somewhere else.” Researchers were concerned lately that retreating sea ice caused by climate change could affect the colony that breeds on it. However the recent satellite images showed the area is not isolated at all.  “That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes,” LaRue added.

14th Anniversary Of The Great Penguin Rescue

June 23, 2014

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the rescuing of 40,000 African penguins following the Treasure oil spill in 2000 – an animal rescue that still stands as the largest and most successful ever undertaken.

African penguins oiled in the June 23, 2000 Treasure oil spill in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Tony Van Dalsen

African penguins oiled in the June 23, 2000 Treasure oil spill in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Tony Van Dalsen

All told thousands of professionals and volunteers managed to save 90% of the 19,000 penguins that were oiled, and 95% of the 38,500 penguins that were handled.

Release of cleaned and rehabilitated African penguins following the Treasure oil spill in Cape Town, South Africa. (The pink spots are a temporary dye to indicate the birds are ready for release, and to help researchers spot them on their islands.) Photo by Tony Van Dalsen, DAFF

Release of cleaned and rehabilitated African penguins following the Treasure oil spill in Cape Town, South Africa. (The pink spots are a temporary dye to indicate the birds are ready for release, and to help researchers spot them on their islands.) Photo by Tony Van Dalsen, DAFF

In addition to the 19,000 oiled birds, another 19,500 unoiled penguins were moved out of the path of the rapidly approaching oil slick.  This incredible undertaking is well documented in Dyan DeNapoli’s book, The Great Penguin Rescue.

books

How To Draw An Emperor Penguin

June 21, 2014

If you love penguins (and who doesn’t), but find it a bit challenging drawing one, as not everyone is Liz Bannish, here’s a little tutorial on how to make it easy to sketch your favorite flightless waddling bird.

But first a little Emperor Penguin did you know:

  • The Emperor Penguin was first documented in 1844.
  • The Emperor walks over 75 miles to a breeding area.
  • They can stay under water for almost 18 minutes.
  • An adult Emperor weighs almost 100 pounds.
  • They swim to almost 2,000 feet deep.
  • This penguin species can live up to almost 50 years old.
  • They grow up to over 4 feet tall.
  • These penguins can survive in minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

emperor-penguin-tutorial

Emperor Penguins On the Move?

June 21, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that a new study led by the University of Minnesota offers new insights on the long-term future of emperor penguins by showing that the penguins may be behaving in ways that allow them to adapt to their changing environment better than we expected.

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Researchers have long thought that emperor penguins were philopatric, which means they would return to the same location to nest each year. The new research study used satellite images to show that penguins may not be faithful to previous nesting locations.

Researchers involved in the new study found six instances in just three years in which emperor penguins did not return to the same location to breed. They also report on one newly discovered colony on the Antarctic Peninsula that may represent the relocation of penguins.

University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering researcher and the study’s lead author Michelle LaRue shared her findings at the IDEACITY conference in Toronto on June 20.  “Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins,” said LaRue. “If we assume that these penguins come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn’t make any sense. These penguins didn’t just appear out of thin air—they had to have come from somewhere else. This suggests that emperor penguins move among colonies. That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes.”

Emperor penguins are a well-studied species and have recently been elevated to celebrity status with movies like “Happy Feet” and the documentary “March of the Penguins.”

The “March of the Penguins” colony is called Pointe Géologie and it’s been studied for more than 60 years. Researchers observe the colony every year and look, in particular, for birds that have been banded by researchers to return to the colony. In recent decades researchers have been concerned about how receding  may affect the emperor penguins that breed on it.

Over five years in the late 1970s, the Southern Ocean warmed and at the same time the penguin colony at Pointe Géologie, declined by half (6,000 breeding pairs to 3,000 breeding pairs). The decline was thought to be due to decreased survival rates. In other words, researchers thought that the warming temperatures were negatively impacting the survival of the species.

High-resolution satellite imagery has changed all that because now researchers can see the entire coastline and all the sea ice. Because emperor penguins are the only species out on the sea ice, they can look at images and identify their presence through the telltale sign—their guano stain. Before satellite images, researchers thought Pointe Géologie was isolated and there was nowhere else for the penguins to go. The  show that Pointe Géologie is not isolated at all. Plenty of colonies are within easy travel distance for an .

“It’s possible that penguins have moved away from Pointe Géologie to these other spots and that means that maybe those banded birds didn’t die,” LaRue said. “If we want to accurately conserve the species, we really need to know the basics. We’ve just learned something unexpected, and we should rethink how we interpret colony fluctuations.”



Penguin Prognosticators

June 20, 2014

One of the breakout stars of the 2010 World Cup was Paul the octopus, an “animal oracle” that rose to fame by correctly predicting the results of all eight Germany matches as well as the winner of the final. Sadly, Paul passed away later in 2010. His multiple shoes will obviously be tough to fill for this tournament (and not just because there are eight of them).

The Penguin Post is proud to report the new animal oricle this year are Penguins, and one special penguin named Don Juan is one of Germany’s “penguin World Cup oracles.”

At an event at the Spreewald Spa in Germany, the flightless Don Juan predicted a German win over Ghana this coming Saturday by nudging the Germany ball first with his beak. Curiously, all of Don Juan’s penguin friends also appear to have picked Germany.

A penguin approaches a ball displaying the national flag of Germany (C) near another featuring Ghana' flag (R) at the Spreewelten-Bad, a sauna and swimming-pool facilities with penguins, in Lubbenau, eastern Germany, during an oracle event organized on June 19, 2014 on the eve of the FIFA World cup Brazil football match Germany vs Ghana.

A penguin approaches a ball displaying the national flag of Germany (C) near another featuring Ghana’ flag (R) at the Spreewelten-Bad, a sauna and swimming-pool facilities with penguins, in Lubbenau, eastern Germany, during an oracle event organized on June 19, 2014 on the eve of the FIFA World cup Brazil football match Germany vs Ghana.

Meanwhile, over in Tokyo, a 2-year-old penguin named Aochan made a prediction on the opening Japan vs. Ivory Coast match by spinning a wheel with her beak. The wheel predicted a Japan draw, but the Ivory Coast went on to win that match, 2-1.  Apparently, spinning a wheel is no way to pick a winner.

Meanwhile, over in Tokyo, a 2-year-old penguin named Aochan made a prediction on the opening Japan vs. Ivory Coast match by spinning a wheel with her beak. The wheel predicted a Japan draw, but the Ivory Coast went on to win that match, 2-1.

Meanwhile, over in Tokyo, a 2-year-old penguin named Aochan made a less than accurate prediction via the wheel spin.

Though the verdict is still out on the accuracy of penguins as World Cup penguin oracles. Thankfully, any lack of psychic ability is made up tenfold by cuteness.  Just don’t bet the igloo on these penguin picks just yet.  There’s still a few kinks to work out.

A Penguin Gets A Name

June 19, 2014

The  Penguin Post has learned that the newest addition to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York officially has a name. County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced the name of the new penguin chick on Tuesday.

“After five days of voting, Filomena rose to the top with 27 percent of the 1,107 total votes cast online. We thank the community for their support and participation,” said Executive Mahoney. The zoo received 963 name suggestions from across the U.S., Canada and the Philippines. The zoo staff picked the five finalists. Humboldt Penguins are native to South America, so names Latin in origin were given special consideration.

The finalists were Dahlia, Filomena, Francesca, Graciela and Solana. Sue Engel, of Dryden, submitted the winning name, which means “greatly loved” in Spanish.

baby penguin

 

Yummy Penguin Craft Snacks

June 19, 2014
O.K. I really don’t celebrate Christmas in the summer, but I just couldn’t keep this idea to myself and thought that a Christmas in July post was the perfect excuse for me to share these silly snack cake penguins with you.  – See more at: http://www.hungryhappenings.com/2012/07/snack-cake-penguins-great-treat-to.html#sthash.LHX3vYAq.dpuf

Recently, we had a Spring break, rainy day family challenge to create a cool, quick, simple, fun and yummy penguin treat.  After a few minutes of pondering and debate amongst parents and kids the time came to create, and believe it or not it all started with the box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls starring at us from a kitchen shelf.  From there we contemplated the penguin edible craft possibilities. It quickly dawned on my kids and I that the shape of the cakes were penguin bodies and we realized that if we stood them up on their ends how easy it would be to transform the rolls into penguins.  I figured if they could make a crafty school project penguin using a cardboard tube, paper and glue, we could create a smaller, edible version using a snack cake, candy and frosting.  Once this idea was crystalized, it took mere minutes for us to write down the ingredients to turn my Swiss Roll into a penguin with orange slice feet, a marshmallow belly, Tootsie Roll wings, candy eyes, and an orange slice beak. I even added licorice feathers on one penguin’s head just for fun. A quick trip to the grocery store and a half hour decorating, and presto.  Adorable, yummy, cool looking penguin snacks. Don’t ya just love ‘em?  So, of course the Penguin Post had to share!

penguinsnacks

Snack Cake Penguins, You’ll need:

Chocolate roll snack cakes (Little Debbie Swiss Rolls or something similar), orange slices/orange gumdrops, marshmallows, Tootsie Rolls, edible eyes, frosting (or use Nutella, peanut butter or melted chocolate), optional, black licorice laces.

Supplies:, kitchen shears or a knife, rolling pin, optional: mini egg shaped or oval cookie cutter, optional: toothpick.

penguiningredientsFlatten an orange slice into an even 1/4″ thickness. Using kitchen shears or knife, cut two feet and a beak from the orange slice.

Cut a thin slice from each end of a marshmallow. Eat the center piece or save for your hot cocoa.

Soften a Tootsie Roll in the microwave on high for 5 seconds. (This wont be necessary if you are fortunate enough to have really soft candies.) Roll your candy out thin. Cut two wings out using a cookie cutter, kitchen shears or a knife. Stretch the oval into a longer curved wing.

Attach all of the candy decorations to the snack cake with frosting making sure the orange slice feet go all the way to the back edge of the snack cake or your penguins will topple over. Add licorice feathers by poking pieces of black licorice laces into the penguins head. You can poke holes with a toothpick first if you need to.

Keep your penguins stored in an airtight container. While most penguins like the cold, these little guys prefer a nice balmy 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep them out of your refrigerator.

penguinsnackstrio

Nestle your penguins in a snowy scene, by sprinkling sugar onto a serving platter, and smile as you gaze upon their yummy penguin splendor.

Snack Cake Penguins
You’ll need:
chocolate roll snack cakes (Little Debbie Swiss Rolls or something similar)
orange slices/orange gumdrops
marshmallows
Tootsie Rolls
edible eyes
frosting (or use Nutella, peanut butter or melted chocolate)
optional, black licorice laces
Supplies:
kitchen shears or a knife
rolling pin
optional: mini egg shaped or oval cookie cutter
optional: toothpick
Instructions:

- See more at: http://www.hungryhappenings.com/2012/07/snack-cake-penguins-great-treat-to.html#sthash.LHX3vYAq.dpuf

This project is as easy as the paper tube version, and if an adult cuts out the candy, even a young child could have fun creating his/her own sweet little penguin snack cake. – See more at: http://www.hungryhappenings.com/2012/07/snack-cake-penguins-great-treat-to.html#sthash.LHX3vYAq.dpuf
This project is as easy as the paper tube version, and if an adult cuts out the candy, even a young child could have fun creating his/her own sweet little penguin snack cake. – See more at: http://www.hungryhappenings.com/2012/07/snack-cake-penguins-great-treat-to.html#sthash.LHX3vYAq.dpuf

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