Archive for March, 2012

King Penguin Chicks In The Mid-West

March 31, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that three King Penguin chicks hatched at the Saint Louis Zoo’s Penguin & Puffin Coast this past January and February. King chicks hatch from their eggs after about 55 days. The parents then continue to keep it warm under their belly flap for 30-40 days until it grows too large to cover. They continue to share feeding duties for about eight months. This handsome bird is one of the largest penguin species. As an adult, it weighs about 33 pounds, second only to the Emperor penguin. The penguin chick keepers routinely weigh the youngsters to monitor their growth. After the quick check, they are returned to their parents.

Penguin Earrings Over The Rainbow

March 30, 2012

We all love our penguins and many of us love earrings, but some penguin earrings are just a little too serious, especially with penguins being black and white and silver being – silver.  Sometimes we just want to be colorful and cool with our jewelry.  Well waddle no further my penguin loving friends as Penguin Place is now offering some fun and colorful sterling silver penguin stud earrings in five, yes, five vibrant colors.  The 9.25 sterling silver earrings are about a 1/2 inch tall (1 cm) and are available in a vibrant blue, red, green, pink and of course purple.  So, now you can combine your fashion sense, passion for penguins and your favorite color all at the same time and all this for under $10!!

Our Colorful Penguin Earrings Are Available In 5 Colors!

Penguins Dive Right In

March 30, 2012

The Summer Olympics will be here sooner than you think and the London Zoo’s flock of penguins appear to be gearing up for the festivities by practicing their dives from their new Olympic size diving board. The penguins are used to plopping into the water, but recently the colony of 64 penguins at the Zoo now have a new vantage point from which to take the penguin plunge. Their very own diving board was erected at Penguin Beach to celebrate the zoo being awarded the LOCOG’s Inspired by 2012 mark for its summer Animal Athletes program.  One might think the penguins to be more of a winter sport kind of bird, but it seems that the Summer sports of swimming and diving (sans speedo’s) are what they’re best at.  Now, the sporty birds will now be able to practice their diving skills and entertain crowds who visit the penguin pool – but judging by their technique,  Olympic hopefuls have little to worry about – just yet.

Penguin showing his "Olympic" diving form off the board at Penguin Beach

Penguins Frolic Near Strange Iceberg

March 29, 2012

These Chinstrap penguins didn’t seem to mind the strange mushroom cloud shaped iceberg that hovered ominously just off shore.  Then again they weren’t exactly running towards it either.

Angry Birds: Penguins vs Pandas In Scotland

March 29, 2012

This is a classic story of an epic rivalry that turned ugly. The images may be in color, but the characters are all black and white. For more than 100 years, the colony of waddling, lovable penguins have put the Edinburgh Zoo on the map. Zoo officials say it was the first zoo in the world to exhibit the birds. Today, there are almost 200 penguins that frolic and dart about, delighting visitors. Lesley Garland, who has been a Edinburgh Zoo’s penguin keeper for the past 11 years, said the penguins have always been popular here because the zoo has such a large colony. “Each has their own personality,” she said. “They’re sometimes hyper-active toddlers and that’s really how we can tell them apart. It’s all in their personalities.” Well, the penguins were the top attraction, until the pandas moved in. After years of negotiating with China, the Edinburgh Zoo was given two pandas on long-term loan. They arrived last fall. The female panda is named Tian Tian, which means “sweetie,” and the male is named Yang Guang, meaning “sunlight.” Not surprisingly, the pandas were an instant hit with visitors. Good news for the zoo, but not for the penguins, who for the first-time ever lost their coveted status as favorite attraction. Are the penguins jealous and exacting revenge? So it would seem.  Forgive us, but it’s a dirty story involving projectiles of penguin poop aimed directly at an unsuspecting public. One pair of penguins routinely nests by fence with a commanding view of the walkways below.

Innocent King Penguins On Parade

Which wasn’t a problem until the main entrance to the panda exhibit was placed directly below. “These people are all waiting to see the pandas and because they are queuing up here, whenever these guys decide to go to the bathroom, it’s been coming over the fence and hitting people on the head,” Garland said. “It could be the revenge of the penguins,” she added, with a mischievous laugh. Zoo officials have a theory, she added, that the penguins could be jealous of all the attention the pandas are getting. So they installed a narrow band of Plexiglas on the edge of the penguins’ perch to protect the visitors below. “I just keep my fingers crossed that that works,” Garland said. “Hopefully none of the larger King penguins will come along and try and maybe fire it over the top.” But the forsaken penguins can take comfort in knowing that in 10 years those cute, cuddly pandas have to go back to China. Perhaps then the penguins will rule the roost at the Edinburgh Zoo once again.

Zoo Honors Penguin Loving Teacher

March 29, 2012

Syracuse, NY – Corcoran High School’s History Of The Americas class wanted to honor their penguin-loving teacher, Noelle Files. She, in turn wanted to pay tribute to her hard-working students. So the class was hopeful when they nominated Hota, the acronym of the course name, during the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s contest to name one of this year’s crop of Humboldt hatchlings. The name made it to the voting round, but lost to “Alberto.” That name was given to one of the male chicks on Feb. 17. But zoo officials were so touched by the sentiments of the Corcoran class and its teacher that they made a surprise announcement this morning to Files’ senior-level class. One of the female chicks would be named Hota.  Applause followed laughter as part-time keeper Hannah Walsh, dressed in the zoo’s Humphrey the Humboldt Penguin costume, waddled into the classroom.  Then it dawned on someone: “Oh! It’s Hota!” No, it’s Humphrey, said Zoo Director Ted Fox. Then he told the students what made their name stand out among the 1,100-plus entries submitted from around the world. “You guys hit the mark, the respect and the care that you obviously have for Ms. Files,” Fox said. The class received an adoption package including a stuffed toy penguin, a framed portrait of Hota and snapshots of the bird for each student. They also were invited to visit her, she will be going on exhibit soon, Fox said. Hota was the top vote-getter among the feminine names submitted, zoo spokeswoman Lorrell Walter said. “We tried mad hard to get everybody in the school to vote for it because we wanted to win,” said Hailey Boronczyk. “It’s cool because, well, I love the class,” Files said. “I love History of the Americas. It means a lot that the kids all got on board and that they wanted to participate in this to name something after the whole class. It’s a way for us to remember it and celebrate the class.” It also gives the community something good to see about the city schools, she said. “And it’s good for the kids. You can see how happy they are,” Files said.

Corcoran High School teacher Noelle Files reacts after being presented a photo of Hota, a Rosamond Gifford Zoo penguin named for her class. Hannah Walsh, dressed as a penguin, makes the presentation.

Penguins Can’t Spell

March 29, 2012

A trio of penguins (or people dressed in penguin hats) named Beth, Deb and Mark representing Bridge St. School and Penguin Place bowed out early this evening in the Northampton Spelling Bee to benefit the Northampton Education Foundation.  The words that eliminated the crowd favorite penguin squad were aerial and hallucinogen (of all things).  The penguins vow to return next year and waddle on to the finals, or at least make it out of the first round.

Team Penguin just before taking the stage in the Northampton Spelling Bee.

Spring and Penguin Romance Is In The Air

March 28, 2012

It happens every year for people and penguins alike. Spring arrives, the weather gets warmer, and hormones start pumping.  It’s penguin breeding season and we’re taking you to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a sneak peak as to what penguin mating season is like.  Just like their penguin (and people) cousins in the wild these males have to woo their ladies with just the right rock.

Checking out nest building materials

Yeah, that’s right penguin dudes.  If you like your lady.  Really like your lady,  then you need to show her with a special rock before anything happens.  No wonder we like penguins.  When we male humans love someone, we also get all dressed up and present our lady love with a special rock (although our rock is a bit more expensive).  Just like humans, once the rock is accepted, it’s time to get started and build the nest.  During nesting season, male Rockhopper and Magellanic  penguins at the Shedd launch into an all consuming frenzy in search of the perfect rocks and sticks to build their nests.  To begin the annual mating ritual, Shedd’s penguin care experts place dozens of small,

Choosing that special rock

smooth river rocks in the penguin habitat for the animals to create the perfect nest.  The week-long war of the rocks will culminate with numerous nests throughout Shedd’s popular penguin exhibit and it even involves some penguin on penguin rock pilfering, as the fella’s can get ruthless, coveting and stealing other penguins rocks to make their nests the best. Eventually, it all evens out and everyone has a fine nest, although some may be finer than others (just like us).  Once the nests are completed, it’s time to lay the eggs and wait.

Spring is here and love is in the air

When Good Penguins Go Bad

March 27, 2012

Everyone once in a while we offer up to the penguin loving public what we at Penguin Place call a “Shackleton”.   Named after the intrepid early 20th century explorer Ernest Shackleton who along with his crew were stranded on the Antarctic ice for over 2 years, this has become the term we use for a penguin item never sells.  In other words, stranded at Penguin Place.  In our South Pole Penguin Pillow I originally thought this item to be a cool, unique, exciting, different, fun penguin product that penguin lovers the world over would embrace, and then to my chagrin it never sold, no matter how I featured it or the increasingly discounted price it never sold.  Yes, I may love penguins, and after 25 years in the penguin product business I have a fairly good track record, but no one bats a thousand. Of the 700 or so items we carry at Penguin Place, there’s usually a 35% turnover every year, meaning about 200 penguin items waddle out and about the same number waddle into our inventory annually, and within that number one seems to happen every few months.  A stinker. A Shackleton.  Some unfortunate penguin that we liked, ordered and inventoried,  but no one in the penguin loving public wants anything to do with.   No recent product has illustrated this more than our Penguins Of The South Pole Pillow.  When I saw it at the 2011 New York Gift Show I absolutely loved it.  I loved everything about it, the concept, the artwork, the design, the originality, the packaging, the company that made it and the material. The only reservation  I had was the hefty price at $149.95 retail.  But, the hand stitched detail, unique design and retro fun of this over sized pillow seemed to me to be perfect for penguin collectors that had thought they’d seen it all.  There was even a Penguins of The South Pole dish towel for $19.95 (now $7.95) for those who liked the design but couldn’t use the large pillow or price tag.   Honestly, I thought they’d make great holiday gifts.  I thought wrong.  In the past year we’ve sold exactly one pillow to a collector overseas and just recently one towel at half price.  What really makes this item a true “Shackleton” is that since the holiday’s we’ve cut the price by 25%, then 50% and now 65% off, and still no takers.  Perplexed as we are, it’s become clear that no one wants this wonderful pillow (or dish towel for that matter) no matter what the price.  Eventually, like all Shackleton’s we will rid ourselves of these penguin products one way or another, but as history does repeat, sooner or later they will be replaced by another “Shackleton”, because plain and simple nobody bats a thousand in the penguin business.  Not even me.

Our stranded Penguin Pillow. Shackleton would be proud.

Newest Pittsburgh Penguin

March 27, 2012

There’s a new Pittsburgh Penguin, but it’s not what you think.  This little guy is a baby African penguin and his tiny black eyelids grew heavy after downing his 11th smelt. Big brother Tribby managed to gulp down 16 of the small fish before he, too, conked out in his handler’s lap. “Oh, yeah, he’s out,” said Chris Gaus, lead penguin trainer at the National Aviary in the North Side, as Tribby’s head fell on his chest. “All right, buddy. Back to bed.” The aviary welcomed two new family members: a pair of African penguins hatched here last month. Tribune Total Media, which sponsors the aviary’s Penguin Point exhibition, won naming rights for Tribby, hatched Feb. 26. The second, unnamed chick emerged from his egg on Feb. 29; aviary staff for now call him Little Guy. The first penguin chicks to hatch at the aviary, they already show personality, said Steve Sarro, director of animal programs. “They’re both a little feisty — a little attitude, and very inquisitive,” Sarro said. “Tribby is very calm. The second one is a little bit younger, and he’s just trying to figure out what’s going on.” Tribby and Little Guy spent three weeks with mom, Bette, and dad, Sidney, named for, you guessed it, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. The babies live in a cooling incubator in Sarro’s office, where staff members hand-feed them three times a day. “It’s always a blast hand-raising chicks,” Sarro said. “We have them sit on our laps; we have people come over and interact with them. That helps them (learn) their job in education, to be an ambassador for the wild.” The global wild breeding penguin population has dwindled to fewer than 50,000, down from about 1 million less than a century ago, Sarro said. The birds are considered an endangered species. Several factors are killing penguins, including oil pollution, commercial over-fishing, human disturbance and climate change, Sarro said. Some researchers predict that unless changes occur, wild penguins will die off completely in 15 years, he said. “We’re very good at breeding them in captivity,” Sarro said. “But they should be in the wild.” Trib Total Media’s chief operating officer, Jennifer Bertetto, an aviary board member, said the company wanted to get involved with Penguin Point — and with Tribby — because it believes in the aviary’s message of “conservation and education.” People can see the newborns for the first time on Friday night during a ticketed event at the aviary. Starting March 31, they will appear at Penguin Point twice daily, at 11 a.m and 2:30 p.m. They’ll enter the exhibit permanently at the end of summer. The chicks weigh about 2 pounds each, and likely will triple or quadruple that weight. They’re still a bit unsteady. Adults stand on their legs and tuck their wings into their sides, but Tribby and Little Guy can manage only brief waddling before collapsing onto crumpled wings.