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   Image courtesy of Jean Pennycook

From: Jean Pennycook
Cape Royds, January 20, 2007

. . . Only a Mother Can Love

These “teenage” Adelie penguin chicks are in transition. About 5 weeks old, they are in the awkward stage between a chick and an adult. Before they can be totally on their own, being able to swim to get their own food, they must shed the thick downy feathers of their youth and grow the sturdy waterproof feathers of adulthood. Some have started in the front, some have started on their backs, Some start around their heads, and other on their wings. The adults too will molt, but it is not time for that yet. They still must bring food to the chicks and get them to fledging weight before their job is done. Then they will find an ice floe to sit on for a few days and shed their feathers for a new set in preparation for winter.

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Postcards from the Field: Antarctica

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