As told to the Penguin Post it took eight hours lying on the cold, hard ice in Antarctica to get the perfect shot, but for Penney Hayley the long wait was worth it. The Western Australian photographer snapped this picture of an Adelie penguin shooting out of the ocean at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay during a cruise with Orion Expeditions. “I love the look on his face,” she said. “I don’t know who got the biggest shock – him or me. “I reckon if he could have pedaled backwards he would have.” The image is one of the ten finalists in week 14 of the Escape Your Holiday photo competition in Australia Ms Hayley, 50, from Kununurra, took more than 10,000 photographs during the 19 day trip, but this was one of her favorites. “It’s a very restricted area and there’s only 100 people allowed at any one time,” she said.”We had a window of opportunity where we had really, really good weather which is quite good for Antarctica. “It was the most surreal experience. “The penguins are often getting chased by leopard seals.” While it looks like a predator in the background, Hayley said it was actually another penguin about to jump out.
Posts Tagged ‘Adelie Penguin’
As crime waves go, there’s something very fishy about a series of thefts taking place at the London Aquarium. As the mating season begins, ‘criminal’ Gentoo penguins have been stealing pebbles from rival nests. This is not the Penguin Posts first encounter with penguin pebble thieves and we’re sure it won’t be the last, as with a stealthy glance over their shoulders, the fiendish birds quickly waddle to their neighbors’ unguarded nests, steal a stone and run back to their own nest. In many cases it won’t be long before the ill-gotten stones will again be stolen by another bird or even the original owner. You can blame this circular crime wave on hormones more than anything else, but it’s a crime none the less. But as the number of break-ins increase, the Gentoos have become suspicious of their fellow colony members, and no one is beyond suspicion. If they notice a rival moving in to plunder their pebbles they quickly run back to defend their nests, keeping everyone on their webbed toes. The colony of 10, which arrived at the attraction last year, are in the middle of their first mating season at the aquarium. Males declare their interest in a female by selecting and presenting a ‘love token’ in the form of a pebble to their chosen female. If it is accepted, the couple then begin collecting more pebbles to line their doughnut-shaped nest. The birds build their stone nests to elevate and protect their eggs. Smooth pebbles are ‘like gold dust’ because they are easy to pick up and comfortable to lie on, according to those who tend to the birds. Hayley Clark, aquarist at the Sea Life London Aquarium, said extra pebbles had to be put into the enclosure after burglar Vladimir has conducted daily robberies on surrounding nests. She said: ‘Some of them are a little bit more tricky than the others, they keep an eye out for the owner of the nest before stealing. A couple of them will just run straight to a nest and will be chased off straight away. ‘They just prefer a certain type of pebble. Pebbles are like gold dust to these guys. ‘The male works out where he wants his nest and that is when he starts collecting pebbles. The female will join in as well after he has given her a few pebbles to place in the nest how she wants it. ‘It is like giving your girlfriend chocolate.’ Ms Clark added that there has been ‘a few tiffs’ over pebble thefts. ‘They will run over pretty sharpish and tell them where to go,’ she said. ‘It can get a little bit aggressive but they generally back away very quickly.’ No eggs have been seen yet but breeders are hoping that a few will turn up in the next few weeks. The pilfering activities of pesky penguins were also featured in the BBC’s Frozen Planet when crews captured Adelie penguins performing a similar thefts while filming in Antarctica.
How will you celebrate International Penguin Day this year? We’re giving you about three weeks notice to make your plans and act (waddle) accordingly on this most sacred of penguin holidays. So what is International Penguin Day and when did it begin? About 20 years ago I read an article in the Science Times about researchers at McMurdo Station in Antarctica who noticed that every year, like clockwork, on April 25th a colony of Adelie penguins returned from months at sea to the same spot on the same day every year. These scientists and their support crew marked it on the calendar and would make a day of it, gathering near the shore to welcome the penguins who would arrive by the hundreds right on schedule every year. It became almost an official holiday at McMurdo known as to the staff as Penguin Day. So when I read the article in The Times, I became intrigued and contacted some folks I knew who had worked at McMurdo Station. They confirmed and expanded on the story and then passed I it along in an article in the print version of the Penguin Post in 1997. In the article I gave it a bit more of an important title calling it World Penguin Day since I felt Antarctica is an international place. Within a couple of years with the dawn of the internet word spread and it took on a life of its own to the point where it’s now an internationally celebrated niche holiday. So, did Penguin Place usher in International (World) Penguin Day? Not really. The very cool Adelie penguins around McMurdo Research Station did, and their legendary exact timetable of migration that delighted the staff at the base was all it needed. By the time the Penguin Post got hold of the story it was already widely known from the N.Y. Times Science Section story, but obviously a write up in the Penguin Post (read by penguin lovers around the world) certainly didn’t hurt spread the word. So, you now have three weeks to prepare yourself to have a wonderful World Penguin Day. What should you do? Have fun and try to do something penguinish, whether dressing in black and white, wearing penguin apparel and / or accessories, eating fish (healthy), waddling every now and then, watching a penguin video (be it a nature film, animated or something like Mr. Popper’s Penguins), read about penguins, visit penguins at your local zoo or aquarium, or maybe treating yourself by buying up hordes of penguin merchandise.
Since today is International Penguin Day we at Penguin Place thought we’d put out a simple, fun and sort of complete guide to the wonderful world of penguins courtesy of the wonderful Kidzone Penguin Facts Pages.
Penguins are birds with black and white feathers and a funny waddle. But unlike most birds, penguins are not able to fly — in the air that is. Penguins spend as much as 75% of their time underwater, searching for food in the ocean. When they are in the water, they dive and flap their wings. It looks just like they are flying!
Penguins are shaped like a torpedo. Their body is built for the most efficient swimming with their average speed in the water being about 15 miles per hour.
The only time penguins are airborn is when they leap out of the water. Penguins will often do this to get a gulp of air before diving back down for fish. Penguins cannot breathe underwater, though they are able to hold their breath for a long time. They also use their ability to leap out of the water to get from the ocean onto land if there are cliffs or ice flows to deal with.
Penguins spend a lot of time dealing with temperature. They are warm blooded, just like people with a normal body temperature of about 100 degrees F. So how do they stay warm in the cold places they live and in the icy cold waters? Just like whales, penguins have a layer of fat under their skin called “blubber”. Overtop of this they are covered with fluffy “down” feathers and overtop of those they have their outer feathers which overlap to seal in warmth. Penguins rub oil from a gland onto their feathers to help make them waterproof and windproof.
Penguins eat seafood. Their main diet is fish, though they’ll also eat squid, small shrimplike animals called “krill” (see photo to the right) and crustaceans. If you look closely at a penguin’s bill you’ll notice a hook at the end, perfect for grabbing dinner. They also have backward facing bristles on their tongues that helps slippery seafood from getting away. Penguins don’t live near freshwater — at least none that isn’t frozen. Instead they drink salt water. They have a special gland in their bodies that takes the salt out of the water they drink and pushes it out of grooves in their bill. A handy in-house filtration system!
Just a Boy and a Girl…
During the mating season penguins head for special nesting areas on the shore. The area where penguins mate, nest and raise their chicks is called a “rookery”. When penguins are ready to mate, the male stands with his back arched and wings stretched. He makes a loud call and struts about to attract a female. When the penguins find a mate, they bond with each other by touching necks and slapping each other on the back with their flippers. They also “sing” to each other so they learn to recognize each other’s voices. Once a penguin finds a mate, they usually stay together for years — for as long as they have chicks.
Penguins don’t jump, they BOUNCE!
Penguins don’t live in the best habitats for finding nesting material, so they have to make do with what they can find. Rockhopper penguins build their nests on steep rocky areas. To get there, they hold both feet together and bounce from ledge to ledge (imagine Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger with wings and you’ve got the idea). These birds can bounce up to 5 feet! Magellanic penguins dig burrows under the ground to form huge “cities” similar to gophers. Adelies and chinstrap penguins use rocks to build their nests. The perfect rock is a rare commodity for these birds. They’ll often fight over or steal each other’s stones!
As soon as the egg is laid (penguins lay one or two eggs at a time), the female dashes out for dinner, leaving the male to watch the nest. When the female returns (it can take up to two weeks for her to come back) it’s the male’s turn to head out for food, leaving the female with the egg. When the chick hatches, it immediately starts calling so that its parents will learn to recognize its voice.
Penguins are a food source for a number of marine mammals, especially leopard seals. These seals hide under ice flows and wait for their prey. Other marine mammal predators are sea lions and orcas. The penguins aren’t without protection though. Their white bellies blend with the snow and sunlight making it difficult for an underwater predator to see them. Penguins are also eaten by a number of birds — for example, the Australian sea eagle and the Skua. The penguins black backs blend against the dark ocean water, making it more difficult to spot them from above. Penguins also have a number of on-land predators like ferrets, cats, snakes, lizards, foxes and rats.
Playful Penguin Pastimes
Between staying warm, raising chicks, finding food and avoiding predators, a penguin’s life may not sound like much fun. But penguins have some playful pastimes — many of which are surprisingly similar to human hobbies!
Tobogganing: Penguins lie on their belly and toboggan through the ice and snow. This helps them move quickly.
Surfing: Penguins are often seen surfing through the waves onto land.
There are 17 species of penguin, each slightly different. Some of the species have nicknames which can cause people to think there are more than 17 species (for example the Little penguin is also known as the Blue penguin).All of the species live in the Southern hemisphere. Many live at the South Pole on Antarctica. But some don’t live in such cold places. They are found on the coasts of South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands. The Emperor penguin is the only species that breeds and nests in Antarctica through the frigid winter.
Adelie penguins are the smallest of the Antarctic penguins. One way to distinguish them from the other penguins is by their all black head and the white ring around their eye. Adelie penguins were named after the wife of a French explorer in the 1830s. They are about 2 feet tall and weigh 8 or 9 pounds. Their diet is mainly fish.
Adelies build their nests of stones on the rocky beaches of Antarctica, jealously guarding and often fighting over the best rocks. There are over 2.5 million breeding pairs living in Antarctica. They live in groups of about 10,000 birds.
African penguins have a black upside down U-shape on their neck with black speckles on their chest. They are about 2 feet tall and weigh between 7 and 11 pounds.
African penguins live and breed on the coast of South Africa. People have hunted these penguins so much that their numbers declined from at least one million to about 150,000. They are now a protected species, but are still caused trouble by oil spills off the coast of Africa. African penguins are also known as the Blackfoot penguin.
Chinstrap penguins get their name from the small black band that runs under their chin. They are about 2 feet tall and weigh about 10 pounds. They feed on krill and fish. Chinstrap penguins are the most common penguins with a population of about 13 million. They often live on large icebergs on the open ocean in the Antarctic region.
Emperor penguins are the largest penguin species. They are nearly 4 feet tall and weigh up to 90 pounds. Those are BIG penguins! Emperor penguins are easily identifiable by their size and the orange “glow” on their cheeks. Emperor penguins live, year round, in the Antarctic. Temperatures can fall as low as -140 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 degrees Celsius). Most penguin species lay two eggs at a time, but due to the difficulty of raising chicks in such a harsh climate, the Emperor penguin only lays one egg.
Most penguin species take turns warming the egg, but it’s up to the Emperor penguin dads to do all the work once the egg is laid. The male stands with the egg on his feet under a brood pouch (for warmth). He does this for up to 9 weeks, without food, waiting for the chick to hatch. During this time, the male may lose up to half its body weight. Once the egg hatches, the female returns and the male heads out to the ocean to feed.
Penguins do not live in the wild in any location in the Northern Hemisphere.
But, one penguin comes close. The northern most colony of penguins are located in the Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos Penguins can survive close to the equator because the Humboldt current brings cold waters to the islands from the Antarctic.
Gentoo penguins live on many of the islands of the Antarctic region but the main colony is on the Falklands. They are about 3 feet tall and weigh about 13 pounds. Their diet consists of krill and some small fish. Gentoo penguins are easily identifiable by the wide white stripe over the top of their head. It runs from one eye to the other.
Gentoo penguins make nests on the inland grasslands. They pile stones, grass and sticks to create a circular nest. Like the Adelies and Chinstrap penguins, the Gentoo will also fight over stones for nesting.
The King penguin is the second largest penguin and looks somewhat like the Emperor penguin. They are about 3 feet tall and weigh up to 35 pounds. King penguins have orange spots near their ears and on the neck. King penguins mainly eat fish and some squid and crustaceans. They are found on many sub-Antarctic islands including Crozet, Prince Edward , Kerguelen, South Georgia and Mazquarie Islands. Like the Emperor penguin, the King penguin hatches only one chick at a time. Their chicks have fuzzy brown feathers for about a year after they are born.
“Macaroni” used to be a hairstyle in 18th century England. Didn’t you ever wonder why Yankee Doodle called the feather in his cap, “Macaroni”? It’s not about pasta, it’s about a penguin!! The Macaroni penguins were so named by English sailors because the yellow and black feathers sticking out of the side of their heads looked like an 18th century English hairstyle.
Magellanic penguins were named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them in 1519 on his first voyage around the tip of South America. Magellanic penguins are about 2 feet, 3 inches tall and weigh 9 pounds. They are the largest of the warm weather penguins. They live on the coast of the Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. During mating season, Magellanic penguins burrow, forming underground nesting colonies.
Similar to the Macaroni penguins, the Rockhopper penguins have decorative feather tufts on their heads — theirs are yellow in color. Their most unusual trait is their ability to hop from rock to rock to their nesting places. They keep both feet together when hopping. Using this method, they are able to hop up to four or five feet!
The yellow-eyed penguins have a band of yellow feathers going from the bill, circling the eyes and up around the head. The yellow-eyed penguin lives on the coast of New Zealond. It is the rarest of all penguins due to the deforestation of the New Zealand coastline and the introduction of new predatory species to the island. Sadly, there are only an estimated 1,500 breeding pairs of yellow-eyed penguins.
Against my daughters fervent wishes Penguin Place has decided to sell our taxidermy penguin which we have been in possession of since this past Spring. Apparently this real live (at least he was in the 70′s) Adelie penguin was one of a set of two, the other purchased by Andy Warhol. As for how to price it, I found the last taxidermy penguin that was offered on line was a Humboldt which went for about $3,000 (taxidermy penguins are quite rare), and we all know that Adelie’s are much cooler than Humboldt’s, so by offering it for the same price we figure it’s a bargain. Call it the taxidermy penguin recessionary price curve. In the meantime unless there’s an unexpected quick sale Mr. Popper (as my kids call him) will be on the way to school next week for show and tell.
A longtime customer of mine (let’s call her Gwen) is moving to Florida and needed to relieve herself of about 40 years of penguin collecting. I was honored that she thought of Penguin Place and our P-Bay Section (which is for used, vintage and collectible penguins only) as a way to help her lighten her waddling load. But, among the hundreds of penguin items Gwen has sent us, one stands out, and I mean really stands out. It’s a two foot tall taxidermy Adelie Penguin that stands on a half foot tall rocky pedestal. Gwen gave me the heads up that the real live, well not really live for the last 40 years anyway, penguin was waddling my way. But, when informing me about the Adelie she also mentioned that there was a set of two and that Andy Warhol had purchased the other Adelie. I asked her to expand on that and this is her reply.
“My husband and I were living in Greenwich Village at the time and there were many antique stores on Bleecker Street at that time. There were two Adelies in the window and when we went in Andy Warhol was buying one of them and we just had to have the other—they looked like twins. I have never seen another like it. I hope the penguin died of natural causes. I am too much of an animal lover to accept anything else. That was in the 70′s. A lot of people don’t realize that the penguin is a bird—that flies underwater. There are many layers of fine feathers that keep them warm. I forgot which explorer it was that named the Adelie after his wife. I don’t understand the taxidermy process–only that it preserves the animals.”
Right now the Adelie is proudly sitting atop our bookshelf in our living room. Safe from the over enthusiastic hands of my daughters and their friends. For the time being he’s not for sale until I decide what I want to do with him (or her). But for now I can’t wait to bring him into Sophie’s first grade class for my Spring Penguin talk. I hadn’t scheduled a Spring Penguin Bridge St. School Talk until my Adelie friend waddled in. Like any proud penguin papa, I just want to show him off.