Image courtesy of Jean Pennycook

From: Jean Pennycook
Cape Royds, Antarctica, January 10, 2009

Sorry Wrong Number !

There are thousands of nests in a colony, how does a penguin find its home and mate?

This penguin fresh from feeding and full of food for his chicks came rushing up to this nest and began greeting his mate. For his efforts he received a bite in the neck and a flipper bash. He was sure that THIS was his nest and his mate, so he continued to sing his greeting call, trying to get his mate to respond.

Respond she did, by continuing to bite, jab, and flipper beat him. The neighbors got into the act too and started to attack. You can see that blood was shed as he persisted, to no avail. It was hard to watch.

After about two minutes of abuse, the penguin was pushed away and found himself among other nests. The penguins in these other nests continued to show unwelcoming displays. Only 10 feet away from all of this was his true mate, who finally attracted his attention and they found each other. Seconds later he was on his own nest, guarding and feeding his own chicks, blood still pouring out of his flipper and onto the chicks, but all was well.

For more information about Adelie Penguins go to

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Postcards from the Field: Adelie Penguins 2008

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