Emperor Penguins Hitting The Water by Carole-Anne
Emperor Penguins, Aptenodytes forsteri, leaving home on the fast ice at about 1am to go fishing, Cape Roget, Ross Sea, Antarctica.
The penguins make their way to the edge of the ice from the rookery. They seem to stand in groups of about 20, peacefully waiting for those groups in front to leave. When a group enters the water the rest all shuffle forward. Because there may be a Leopard Seal waiting form them in the water they take some time before the first penguin takes the plange; and then the whole group dives in very quickly.
The adult penguin is away for about 3 weeks at a time and brings partly digested food back for the chick. They find their chick with sound, each parent and chick knowing each others call. That’s pretty amazing since there can be up to 300,000 birds in the rookery. When they find each other the chick chases the parent calling out loudly which encourages the parent to regurgitate the food. During the summer season the chicks are cared for by both parents who go fishing in turn, so the feeds are few but large.
Although not endangered at this stage Emperor Penguins are considered vulnerable to Climate Change, and since 2000 some colonies have experienced difficulties due to changes in the ice and iceberg formation.