Archive for November, 2010

Scottish Penguins Are Big Snow Stars

November 30, 2010

THOUSANDS may be cursing the snow and ice currently gripping Scotland but the Penguin Post has learned that in one part of Edinburgh there are some very happy customers – the city zoo’s penguins.
While the rest of the capital ground to a halt the Gentoo and King penguins at the zoo have become an internet sensation with their happy antics beamed to the world via the Zoo’s very own Penguin Cam.  Ironically, while the zoo itself was forced to close today because of the weather, the Penguin Cam became one of the hottest trending topics in the world on the social networking site Twitter with people passing on the link to friends.   And many of those logging on to watch the birdies were themselves snowbound workers unable to get to their offices.  One user said: “I can’t stop watching the Edinburgh Zoo penguins. I’ve started doing voices for them and everything.”  Another said: “After watching the Edinburgh Zoo penguins today, I definitely feel the need to go home and watch Happy Feet.  And another said: “Snow day. Slippers, cups of tea, malt loaf and watching the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo enjoy the snow.”  A spokesperson for the zoo said: “This a lovely think to see and it has struck the heart chords of thousands.”
To watch the penguins live click here (note: The cameras are not enabled for night vision!)

Penguins To Usher In Santa at Macy’s Parade

November 25, 2010

The Penguin Post has learned that there will be a special treat this morning on the tube, or if you’re in NYC and watching the parade you can witness this truly spectacular sight in person.   This year, five dozen penguins in the form of The Young Americans, a nonprofit music education group based in Hollywood, California.  They will be performing as dressed as penguins in the 84th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  To top it all off, their performance will punctuate the grand finale of the long parade of giant balloons, festive floats, marching bands, celebrities, acrobats and clowns.   The parade airs 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, Nov. 25, on NBC.  “I’m pretty sure this will be one of the things people will talk about — the showstoppers.   How many times do you see 60 penguins dancing down the street?” said Brooke Robinson, publicist for The Young Americans, in a phone interview.   The Young Americans have only performed in the parade one other time, and that was 40 years ago.  This year, Robinson pitched the dancing penguin idea to Macy’s and the store not only thought it a grand idea, but decided to place the young performers in one of the most honorable positions in the parade.  Ushering in Santa’s sled at the very end!   After singing and dancing the entire route, they’re scheduled to reach Macy’s at 11:29 a.m., and have been given a minute and half to complete their “Winter Wonderland” performance on national television.   So be sure to watch the spectacle of 60 singing and dancing penguins ushering in Santa Claus and the official start of the holiday season this Thursday!  If you miss it or Santa may cross you off his list.  Happy Thanksgiving.

The Young Americans as Penguins

Penguin To Get New Beak

November 23, 2010

The Penguin Post has learned that an injured Gentoo penguin that lost a piece of its beak now has a new one.  The penguin was found stranded on a beach near Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and was brought to a local zoo.  Its thought that the penguins beak was shattered by a boat propeller and with his damaged beak he could only eat with the help of caretakers.  The zoo’s veterinarian fit the five month old penguin, now named Tungo with an acrylic beak to help the bird eat and catch fish on its own. In a few weeks, he is expected to fully recover and be ready to travel to a breeding center in California.

Penguin Contact

November 23, 2010

After all the trouble I’ve had with my old website as I’ve tried to turn it into a new website, while trying to figure out how to use my old e-mail newsletter module from a website that I don’t use anymore, it finally dawned on me to open a Constant Contact account and create and mail out an update newsletter through them.  It was easy, they (Constant Contact) were nice and helpful and this morning my update went out to all my Penguin Place fans.  It was all in all a very pleasant and productive experience.

Speaking of mugs.  Today I added 4 more penguin mugs to P-Bay as well as a matching set of old penguin luggage. The luggage seems to be made out of some sort of industrial seat covering.  Very odd, but cool.


It’s Raining Penguin Mugs

November 22, 2010

Strange but true, but lately it seems that our Penguin Place P-Bay Section has been inundated with dozens of vintage penguin mugs.  In many ways this penguin mug bonanza has been a waddle down memory lane for us as we recognize many of the mugs from our inventory of 20 – 25 years ago.

Pretty cool, and get ’em while you can.  In P-Bay there’s usually only one of each item and when it’s gone.  It’s gone, and for a 25 year old penguin mug in mint condition this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity if you are indeed looking for a cool, vintage penguin mug.

Classic Penguin Coffee Table Books

November 20, 2010

Recently a couple of the all-time penguin coffee table books have found their way into our Penguin Place P-Bay Section and are now being offered to some lucky penguin lovers.  Simply put, these books are sublime in content, layout and images, and to top it off have been out of print for decades.  My personal favorite is the incredible 9″ x 12″ Franz Lanting book, simply titled Penguin.  The title Lanting choose is probably because he set out to make it the definitive high end penguin coffee table book ever produced.   The book is short on text, but long on stunning and glorious pictures by one of the worlds foremost nature photographers and penguin lovers.  Printed in Spain in the early 1990’s, and at 160 pages of heavy duty, glossy pages the book weighs in at a hefty five pounds.  We’re happy to report the copy we are in possession of is in wonderful condition, as it was obviously owned by someone who not only loved penguins but cherished this book.

Franz Lanting's wonderful book simply called Penguin

The other great title by Roger Tory Peterson is Penguins, and it’s a trip down penguin the penguin time machine.  Printed in 1979 using pictures that span Peterson’s wonderful career, it was in its time “the” definitive penguin book as Mr. Peterson, a self confessed penguin lover meant it to be. It has a real 70’s look and feel to it, which is part of its charm.   This book is also large size ( 9″ x 11 1/2″ ) and weighs in at 230 pages and about four pounds.  But,  unlike the aforementioned Lanting book, Penguins not only includes hundreds of wonderful pictures, but illustrations, text and tons of interesting penguin facts, stories and incites.

Roger Tory Peterson's 1979 Classic Penguins

This book is also heavy duty book and has been out of print for about 25 years.   Although the exterior jacket is a bit worn, after all it is 31 years old, the book and cover are in excellent shape.   Making Penguins or Penguin a great, rare catch for any penguin lover.

Penguin Hot Chocolate Run

November 16, 2010

Last year I was on the Bill Dwight Radio Show on WHMP to talk about Penguin Place and our recent landing in Northampton I was one of two guests that morning.  The other guest on the show was a very nice woman named Sarah Smith who happened to be promoting the annual Northampton Hot Chocolate Run, which is a charity event that takes place every December here in my new hometown.  What’s ironic about us both being on the show on the same day is that I was on to talk about Penguin Place and the Hot Chocolate Run’s mascot is a penguin.  Actually, it’s a penguin and a polar bear, but I don’t count the bear, and apparently neither does Sarah as she made a personal pilgrimage to Penguin Place yesterday to pick up a bunch of cool penguins to give out to event sponsors, volunteers and other deserving members of the Hot Chocolate Committee.   So, this year if you’re in the area in a couple of weeks for the Hot Chocolate Run don’t be surprised to see a major penguin presence in downtown Northampton.

Here’s more on the event.

Dear friends and supporters of Safe Passage:

Our planning committee is hard at work organizing the biggest and best Hot Chocolate Run ever.  We hope you’ll visit this site often to learn all about the event.

The Hot Chocolate Run raises funds for Safe Passage, the Hampshire County organization providing shelter, counseling, and advocacy services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence.   This event is Safe Passage’s largest fundraising event.  We are so fortunate to have the support of thousands of participants and dozens of business sponsors and donors.

This year’s event will be held on Sunday, December 5. The event has always been on the first Saturday in December.  As the event has grown bigger, it’s been difficult to accommodate the level of traffic our event brings into downtown Northampton on a busy Saturday morning.  We’re trying Sunday this year in the hopes that the event will run more smoothly for our participants and anyone else who needs to access downtown during the event.

Registration is limited to 5,000 people this year.  We encourage you to register early to ensure that you can participate.  Day-of registration may not be available this year.

After you’ve registered, you can get more involved in helping Safe Passage through your participation in the Hot Chocolate Run. Click here to get started!

See you on December 5!  And thanks for your support of Safe Passage.

Gentoo Penguins Replacing Adelie Penguins

November 16, 2010

Since 1974, Bill Fraser, a researcher with the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research LTER and president of Polar Oceans Research Group, has been studying the ecosystem of the northwestern Antarctic Peninsula, where the midwinter temperature has risen 11°F in just 60 years, making it one of the three most rapidly warming regions on the planet.   So, it’s not a coincidence that since the mid 1970s, the penguin population in this zone has dropped some 85 percent to about 5,000, a depletion rate mirrored in other colonies on the northwestern Antarctic Peninsula. There are some 2.5 million Adélie penguins in all of Antarctica.

As explained to the Penguin Post, the main cause is melting sea ice in the Southern Ocean surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula where glaciers have retreated nearly 90 percent in the last three decades. There are now three fewer months of sea ice every year than there were in 1979, which means fewer krill larvae at the sea-ice edge and fewer silverfish eggs able to take refuge and mature beneath it. Penguins use the sea ice as a feeding platform to feed on both, which means that the lack of sea ice is a triple whammy. It lowers the penguins’ two main food sources at the same time that it limits their access to an increasingly slim supply. Higher sea and air temperatures have also led to both more snow and more snow melt, both of which are problematic for the penguins. Deeper snowfall makes it harder to build nests. And once the snow melts, penguins find their eggs swimming in pools of icy water.

Meanwhile, Gentoo penguins are moving south to Antarctica, replacing the Adélies. Where there were once few fur seals there are now thousands. “Ice-loving, ice-dependent species are fairing poorly, and ice-avoiding species are moving in. It’s kind of a natural process,” Montaigne said, hastening to add, “I’m not saying it’s a good process.”

Adelie's are treading on "thin ice".

Antique and Used Penguins All The Rage on P-Bay

November 11, 2010

It could be the economy, or it could simply be the growing popularity of the Penguin Place P-Bay pages, but since the Summer the number of used and collectible penguin items on the site has jumped from about 75 to well over 200 and climbing. “It’s not that we’re not moving any of our P-Bay penguins.”  Tells Penguin Place owner Eric Bennett in regards to his vintage penguins. 

“In fact we have regular collectors who troll the site every few days for new treasures, it’s just that we’ve been inundated with boxes of penguins from peoples collections since July.”  In fact to back up that statement are about 10 unopened fairly large size boxes of penguin items yet to been seen spilling out into the hallway.  According to Michelle Daily of Penguin Place, after opening each new box of used penguins, each penguin must be must be removed, cleaned, appraised, noted as to who the seller is, then photographed or scanned, re-sized, then dropped into the website, with appropriate copy and price.  “The most we have time for in any given day is maybe 15 to 20 penguin items, and we’ve literally got hundreds we have not even seen yet”. 

The items range from a real 30 year old taxidermy adelie penguin that is listed to nearly $3000 to a little 10 year old little plastic magnet for .95¢ and everything in between.  The popularity of two year old section has not gone unnoticed by penguin collectors the world over.  According to Japanese penguin collector Hayao Izuhara, “I look at the P-Bay Section about once a week for new items and when I find enough items I like, I will order about once a month.  There is an incredible diversity of used penguins and the prices are always very reasonable”.   Unlike it’s rhyming name sake cousin there is no bidding on P-Bay, but if an item does not sell after a certain amount of time the price keeps getting slashed until it does.  “Instead of bidding up, we end up bidding down over time.” said Daily. 

With the holidays just around the corner the Penguin Place staff have been going through boxes and posting holiday related penguin items.  “Seems like the right thing to do.” said Bennett.  “My favorite item right now is a plush penguin ornament that we named Thomas Jefferson Penguin.  He’s wearing a white powdered wig and holding a quill. In all my years of penguin collecting I’ve never seen anything like it.  That’s what makes P-Bay so much fun.”

Professor Preserving Penguins With Grant

November 11, 2010

Some scientists believe global warming is affecting the feeding environment of the Adélie penguin in Antarctica, and a Cal Poly biology professor is heading south to learn more. Mark Moline will travel to Antarctica in December, funded by part of a $290,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the foraging environment of the penguin species. The project is one of three ocean-related studies Moline has recently received grant funding to participate in with other scientists. Moline’s work will involve choosing and equipping remote underwater vehicles with technology that collects scientific data for analysis. The two additional projects he’s involved with will look at wind patterns and water movement off Point Conception and the feeding conditions of toothed whales off the San Diego coastline. The Adélie penguin feasts on krill and squid, but researchers have found that a reduction in sea ice and a scarcity of food have contributed to a sharp decline in the penguin populations. Moline and fellow researchers will travel to Earth’s southernmost continent with an autonomous underwater vehicle to conduct daily surveys of plants and phytoplankton consumed by krill. “Increasing water temperatures have changed where the penguins are feeding,” Moline said. “The Adélie penguins now are going 20 kilometers from shore to a feeding spot when they used to travel one kilometer.”  Moline’s work will also include a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the oceanic research along the Central Coast.  The oceanic project will study the Santa Barbara Channel and how warmer water flows north around Point Conception toward southern San Luis Obispo County during relaxation of southerly winds. This process makes temperatures warmer farther north. A $1.7 million grant from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program will fund the whale study, which Moline will work on with Oregon State University marine biologist Kelley Benoit-Bird. That project will involve capturing real-time sonar images — or video images derived from sound instead of light — to study the whales feeding at depths that haven’t been examined before. The whales’ diet includes squid, octopus and fish. Each of the studies is intended to contribute to overall efforts by scientists to better understand climate change and its potential effects on plant and animal life, Moline said.

Cal Poly biology professor Mark Moline, left, and technician Ian Robbins, right, test an underwater vehicle on a trip to the Arctic earlier this year. Norwegian biologist Geir Johnsen is in the water.