And the award for the world's best-dressed bird goes to...yes, Penguins!!

I found out too late about this amazing day - World Penguin Day. Apparently, it is celebrated on April 25 every year. This day (almost) coincides with the beginning of the annual northward migration of Adelie Penguins. Every year, these mid-sized penguins travel an average of 13,000 miles as they follow the sun.        While Penguins in general are very unique birds, Adelie penguins are a step ahead. They have while rings around their eyes and black feathers at the base of their bill, which almost cover the lower bill. I have never seen these penguins, but their wikipedia page is full of some some very interesting accounts of these birds.

I found out too late about this amazing day - World Penguin Day. Apparently, it is celebrated on April 25 every year. This day (almost) coincides with the beginning of the annual northward migration of Adelie Penguins. Every year, these mid-sized penguins travel an average of 13,000 miles as they follow the sun. 



While Penguins in general are very unique birds, Adelie penguins are a step ahead. They have while rings around their eyes and black feathers at the base of their bill, which almost cover the lower bill. I have never seen these penguins, but their wikipedia page is full of some some very interesting accounts of these birds. 

Consider this accurate imagery for instance - 

Apsley Cherry-Garrard was a survivor of Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition of 1910, and he documented details of penguin behavior in his book The Worst Journey in the World. "They are extraordinarily like children, these little people of the Antarctic world, either like children or like old men, full of their own importance."

And when there are British Explorers, of course there are hunter dogs -
Cherry-Garrard writes: Meares and Dimitri exercised the dog-teams out upon the larger floes when we were held up for any length of time. One day a team was tethered by the side of the ship, and a penguin sighted them and hurried from afar off. The dogs became frantic with excitement as he neared them: he supposed it was a greeting, and the louder they barked and the more they strained at their ropes, the faster he bustled to meet them. He was extremely angry with a man who went and saved him from a very sudden end, clinging to his trousers with his beak, and furiously beating his shins with his flippers.… It was not an uncommon sight to see a little Adélie penguin standing within a few inches of the nose of a dog which was almost frantic with desire and passion.

Anyway, enough about Adelie Penguins. I am sure these are amazing creatures. However, I am absolutely crazy about Emperor Penguins, the largest of them all. I remember watching a documentary on these stately birds on National Geographic. This was when I was in college, and hence years ago. 



There is a particular sequence from that documentary that is imprinted in my mind. It is that of these big birds walking in a line across the frozen Antarctic, against the icy winds. The penguins walked with determination, huddled together, looking a little overdressed for the occasion of a snow storm. This was the first time I noticed their uncanny resemblance to human beings. 



Emperor Penguins are also great parents. They divide parental duties. While females go out into the ocean to feed themselves, males keep the eggs warm by carrying them on their legs in a brood pouch. And when both parents need to go out to catch food, the chicks are left in small creches. In general, the colony keeps the chicks in the middle and the adults huddle, forming a circle around the chicks to protect them from cold winds. It is quite amazing how these seemingly slow, waddling, flightless birds have evolved to rock the climate of the Antarctic.  





I haven't yet seen Emperor Penguins or Adelie Penguins in real life, but we, at TravellingCamera, have seen Gentoo Penguins and Rockhopper Penguins. Gentoo penguins at Seaworld in San Diego and Rockhoppers in Vancouver Aquarium. While ideally I am not in favor of zoos, I do admit that if it was not for zoos, I would have never seen these beautiful creatures. I know this sounds selfish, but I had to be honest here. 

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