Meeting 9,000 Penguins

Satellite images can tell researchers where penguins nest even when the birds are hard to see,  because they leave a lot of penguin poop. One such image pointed to a huge, previously unknown colony of thousands of Emperor penguins. So Antarctic scientist Alain Hubert took a team out to find them.

They finally came upon the colony at 11 p.m. on December 3, when the sun was still shining during the Antarctic summer. Spread out on the ice were 9,000 emperor penguins, about three-quarters of them chicks. Despite his polar experience, Hubert had never seen a full colony before. "You can approach them," he said. "When you talk to them, it's like they are listening to you."

The penguin colony had selected a nesting ground on an area of ice that is less likely to melt than many spots they could have chosen, which is good news for future generations of Emperor penguins. Link

(Image credit: International Polar Foundation)

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