Time to Raise the Chicks
We are at Cape Royds, Ross Island, Antarctica, a penguin breeding colony of several thousand Adelie penguins. This female is 8 years old and has been a successful breeder in the past. She was first seen at the colony on Nov 20th,2006 and laid one egg on Nov 24. Egg laying takes a lot of energy, so after laying her second egg on Nov 27th she returned to the ocean to forage for food. The male arrived much earlier than the female as he had to build the nest and defend it against other males until she arrived. He has not eaten since then and now must sit on the nest, maybe several days, waiting for her return. The eggs can not be left exposed for even a short time, they will freeze or be eaten by birds called Skuas. Note the nest is built of rocks, this is the only material in Antarctica to build a nest with.
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Postcards from the Field: Antarctica