Too Many Skuas
This year has been hard on the Adelie Penguins at Cape Royds. The ice edge is a long way out and a one way trip takes two days of constant walking (See Dec 17 postcard). In addition there are more Skuas in the colony. In the top picture you see the two mated pairs of Skuas who decided to use this breeding group as their food source. First they took eggs, now they are taking the chicks that have managed to hatch. We have watched this nesting group which started with 21 nests on Nov 21st drop to 3 on Dec 19th. As the number of nests decline, there are fewer neighbors to help fend off the attacks. This group will have a hard time producing even one chick this year. For more pictures and stories go to Penguin Science.
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Postcards from the Field: Adelie Penguins 2008