Image Courtesy of Jean Pennycook

From: Jean Pennycook
Cape Royds, Antarctica, November 25, 2008

Penguin Weather Vanes

Normally when I come down to the colony on my daily rounds the penguins are sitting every which way on their nests. Some face each other, some face away from each other, some face inwards, some outwards, it appears to be a random pattern.

Today I was surprised to see them all facing one direction as if some order had been given and they, for some reason, all obeyed. In every nesting group, every nesting adult was aligned. It was almost spooky. However the answer was only a puff of air away. This day there are strong gusts of wind, and the penguins always face into the wind when they are on the eggs. Since they are all on eggs, they are all facing the same way.

No need for a weather vane to see which direction the wind is blowing, just check out the penguins.

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Postcards from the Field: Adelie Penguins 2008

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