They Grow Up So Fast.
Compare this picture with the ones from Dec 2 and Jan 5! You can no longer distinguish nesting sites, or whose chick is whose. This sub colony has turned into a large mass of chicks huddled in crèches waiting for parents to return from foraging. They are hungry and will seek food from any adult that comes by. Parents find their own chick by voice recognition and will fend off other chicks that chase them begging for food. Loss to the Skuas is less now, some chicks are too big to carry off and they are getting good at defending themselves. Two of the chicks in this picture are starting to molt, shedding their gray downy chick feathers for the black and white adult ones which will enable them to swim. Non-breeding adults who have arrived in the colony also help fend off the Skuas, you can see them standing near the fringe of the groups. They will fend me off too if I get too close.
For more information about Adelie Penguins go to the education page at Penguin Science or this page about
Antarctic Marine Life.
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Postcards from the Field: Adelie Penguins 2007