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Antarctic Postcard from the Field: The Penguin Chicks Are Four Weeks Old - Windows to the Universe

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   Image courtesy of Jean Pennycook

From: Jean Pennycook
Cape Royds, January 10, 2007

The Penguin Chicks Are Four Weeks Old

This is a 4-week-old Adelie penguin chick. As you can see, his wing has developed greatly in the last week, now his body will have to grow into that wing. He is eating about 650 grams of food a day and probably weighs about 2.5 kilograms. His parents are no longer guarding him; they are out at sea looking for food for themselves and for this growing chick.

Skuas will still attack a chick of this size, but not often and these chicks can defend themselves a bit. Don't worry about the chick in the lower right picture. This chick is not dead, just exhausted from all the eating. The chicks spend much of their time sleeping. They still have their dense downy plumage (upper right picture) which is effective against the wind, but not against the icy water. They are a long way from being able to swim.

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Postcards from the Field: Antarctica

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