April 25 is World Penguin Day.
Isn’t that nice? Penguins are adorable and loved by all. They deserve their own day of observance when the world recognizes and acknowledges their uniqueness.
Unfortunately, this species is also in need of protection, as are many of the animals of the world, from their not-so-considerate and greedy neighbors, the human beings.
Taken on Cruise to Antarctica, Photo Credit & Source: Robert Loh
The seventeen species of penguins are members of the Spheniscidae Family. You know, those aquatic flightless neighbors at the very south end of town. Maybe they can’t fly, but wow, can they swim!
Photo Source: goodhousekeeping.com/penguins
Penguins, which have feathers like other birds but can’t fly, are still classified as “birds” even though they live on land about half their lives and in the ocean the other half. Their motion in the water more closely resembles flying than the swimming motion used by other animals, and they live on sea life. Their wings have become flippers in the water.
On land, these birds either waddle on their feet without much grace, or toboggan (slide) on their bellies across the snow, a movement which saves their energy and still moves them quickly. They also jump with both feet together if they want to move more quickly or cross steep or rocky terrain.
They range in size from the Little Blue Penguin which grows to an average of 14” in height, to the largest, the Emperor Penguin, which reaches from 3’6” to 4’3”.
Thirty-seven- million-year-old fossils recently discovered in Antarctica indicate that an ancient breed of penguins once stood taller than the average adult man today at 5-foot-10 (some sources say 6’8’’).
Penguins and polar bear cartoon are popular and cute, but it “ain’t ‘gonna happen!”.
The two species would never meet.
Although every species of penguins are native to the Southern Hemisphere, and some live in very cold climates like Antarctica, others thrive in temperate zones and the Galápagos penguin lives near the equator. A cold current from Antarctica keeps the water near the Galapagos cool enough for the penguins to survive. There are no native penguins in the Northern Hemisphere, and they don’t live at the North Pole, but are seen along coastlines throughout the Southern Hemisphere. 1998 Coca-Cola Ad-Photo credit: Gremlin Fine Art and Animation.
Photo source: amazon.com/Your-Coke-Sir
Penguins have average hearing compared to other birds, but it is keen enough to be used to locate parents and babies in huge colonies. Their eyes are the primary sense for finding food and avoiding predators. They have no teeth. Nonetheless, some species can be quite aggressive.
Penguin feathers are short, dense, and packed so tightly together that they often look like smooth skin… and they are waterproof. Penguins spread an oil produced by the preen gland that insulates their bodies and improves their hydrodynamics. Chicks are covered in fuzzy down, which keeps them warm and may resemble fur.
Often depicted as having only black and white feathers, some penguins have shades of black, white, grays, blues, yellows, and oranges. Species may have red eyes, brightly colored feathers, bright orange beaks, or pink feet. Macaroni penguins are named after the flamboyantly dressed group of 18th century aristocrats, the ‘Macaronis’.
Photo source: abcbirds.org/macaroni worldatlas.com/types-of-penguins worldatlas.com/types-of-penguins spacecoastdaily.com/SeaWorld
Some types of penguins do mate for life, including gentoos, rockhoppers, adelies, and chinstraps. They can find their old mater within minutes of arriving at the colony each season.
Overall, penguins have mischievous, curious, and fun-loving personalities, as well as being photogenic. They seem to enjoy posing for photographs. Photo credit: National Geographic; photo source: pinterest.com/pin/4696
“They [the penguins] are extraordinarily like children, these little people of the Antarctic world, either like children or like old men, full of their own importance."
George Murray Levick, who also accompanied Scott on the British Antarctic Expedition of 1910, observed how the birds often put the explorers in dangerous situations.
“The great trouble with [the dog teams] has been due to the fatuous conduct of the penguins. Groups of these have been constantly leaping onto our [ice] floe. From the moment of landing on their feet their whole attitude expressed devouring curiosity and a pig-headed disregard for their own safety. They waddle forward, poking their heads to and fro in their usually absurd way, in spite of a string of howling dogs straining to get at them. "Hulloa!" they seem to say, "here’s a game – what do all you ridiculous things want?" And they come a few steps nearer. The dogs make a rush as far as their harness or leashes allow. The penguins are not daunted in the least, but their ruffs go up and they squawk with semblance of anger.”
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
"It's just a little kiss." "It was soo sad!" "Thanks for coming over." "I'm so ashamed."
Photo Credit/source: Kathy Dancie Photo source:Pinterest Photo source: natgeokids.com/penguins/ Photo source: dailymail.co.uk/
"Look! I have 4 wings." "Have you heard this one?" "I don't care what Freddie's "Just wait till your
Photo Credit: Diane Schimpf Photo Credit: Andrea Ohagan mother said. It's naptime." father gets home!"
"We're getting pretty at "And I'm telling you, "When do I get off "Hey! He's standing
this Zumba thing." you're wrong!" this Time out?" on my shoulders."
Photo Credit: Diane Schimpf Photo Credit: William Smith Photo source: penguinsblog.com/ Photo Credit: Stephen Bedford
Penguins are social animals and live in large colonies with hundreds and thousands of others. You rarely seen loner penguins (except, perhaps, one on time-out for bad behavior.)
On my trip to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, we visited a colony of King penguins way out in the boomies. It took hours and many bumps to get there. There are many more penguins on the islands than people. It was overwhelming… in more way than one.
Photo Source: https://penguinsblog.com/are-penguins-dangerous/ Photo Credit: Flicker
Photo source: allthatsinteresting.com/penguin
There have been recent articles about Adelie penguins pooping so much, there feces can be seen in satellite images. The krill diet of the penguin on the coast of Antarctica turns their guano a “striking pink color” contrasting with the snow. Their colonies show up well on LandSat images which are being used by researchers to find remote colonies and reconstruct the diet and history of the colonies.