A Final Penguin Update: The Chicks of Cape Royds

A Final Penguin Update:  The Chicks of Cape Royds

Everyone has loved the posts on penguins!  I am lucky enough to see Jean Pennycook around McMurdo these days because she and scientist David Ainley have wrapped up their research season at Cape Royds.  Jean shared some awesome photos of the chicks and adult penguins of the colony.  Enjoy (as I have) these photos and THANKS to Jean for making so many people happy by sharing these pictures.

Don’t forget to check out her website:  http://www.penguinscience.com

These first few photos show the adults with eggs, chicks hatching in December and early days for the chicks.  They grow very quickly!  The first photo demonstrates the spacing between nests.


This is a perfect nest!  Someone’s been working very hard to build it.


Notice the brood patch; an area of skin that keeps the eggs warm.

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What starts as a tiny little crack in the egg…

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gets bigger, and bigger…

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until chicks are completely out of the shell.

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This young chick rests on the adult’s feet.


This adult is feeding a hungry chick.

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As they grow, they beg for food from the adults.  They will tap the adult’s beak to signal for food.


Chicks soon grow round as they continually feed. 

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At this point in the season, they are molting…loosing that fluffy chick look, and growing new feathers.  This prepares them for swimming in the nearby ocean.

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The Adelie chicks look very funny as these changes occur.

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Adults also molt each year.  The process of molting takes a little over two weeks.  Prior to molting, the penguins build up their fat reserves.  They cannot swim during this time of molting, so that means they cannot eat.

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Look at this poor penguin….it looks so cold and frozen.  Penguins are adapted to live in Antarctica, so this one will be fine.

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The penguins move over the ice and snow to make their way to the ocean.

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Eventually the penguins take to the sea and look what fun they have!  I love to see the photos of them diving, jumping, or plopping into the water…..some have such style, while others look a bit awkward. 

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Penguins are so at home in the water, and easily maneuver to find their prey.  They also have to be cautious that they aren’t “lunch” for one of their predators!

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I love how they porpoise through the water to catch a breath of air!



It looks like this little guy is surfing!  Fun!


Enjoy these last few shots of our little feathered friends!  Jean has the most amazing collection of photographs!  What a lucky, lucky woman she is to have the chance to witness penguins from birth to adulthood.




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12 responses to “A Final Penguin Update: The Chicks of Cape Royds

  1. Dear Mrs. Trummel,
    Our class has been reading books about penguins. We were so excited to see your post! We loved looking at the amazing photographs. We learned that mother penguins lay two eggs and most of the time only one will survive. It was exciting for us to see a picture of a mother penguine with two babies. We thought it was intersting to see the way adult penguins feed their babies. Thank you for sharing this blog with us. We miss you!
    Mrs. Felz’s first grade class

  2. I absolutley LOVE these facinating photographs!!!!! You came to my school today and you had so many intresting things to say!!!! You are SOOOOO lucky to be able to go to Antarctica!!!!! when the penguins are molting they kinda look like they’re wearing clothes!!!! I just LOVE all of the intresting facts about these penguins!!! I wish i could see a bunch of penguin chicks hatching like that!!!! Good job with the lake!!!!

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