The following article, “Hey, I think that’s our kid, 3,233rd from the left: Stunning pictures of island where penguins have created the world’s largest crèche” by Emily Allen, was updated 2 June 2011, on http://www.dailymail.co.uk.
I thought you might also enjoy this great Youtube video, “King penguins – Attenborough: LIfe in the Freezer” – BBC, uploaded Mar. 7, 2012. In a fantastic clip from Attenborough’s 1993 series ‘Life in the Freezer’, Sir David demonstrates how inquistive baby penguins are. A great glimpse into the life of king penguins and their parental instincts.
These stunning aerial images of a King Penguin colony in South Georgia show just how extraordinary penguin parenting really is.
In what looks to be the world’s largest crèche, thousands of King Penguins instinctively herd their recently born young into giant huddles to stop them freezing to death.
Parental instinct takes over in the inhospitable climate of the South Atlantic and the chicks with their long, brown, downy coats are made to crowd together to retain their body warmth in the equivalent of bird crèches – visible as brown swathes on our photo.
Birds of a feather: Thanks to these stunning aerial images we can see penguin parenting in action. The brown swathes are the young penguins herded together.
Meanwhile their extraordinary parents waddle down to the shore to bring back dinner for their offspring. The chicks, which take between 10 to 13 months to raise – cannot regulate their body temperature and the parents care for them round the clock for the first three weeks.
The penguins look after their young around the clock for the first three weeks. They then put the chicks in one of the crèches, returning every two or three days with food.
The King Penguin is the second largest species of penguin, weighing up to 35 lbs. The Emperor penguins are the largest. They eat small fish – mainly lantern fish, and squid and repeatedly dive to more than 100 metres to find lunch. A full penguin breeding cycle lasts more than a year and pairs generally breed twice every three years.
There are an estimated 2.23 million pairs of King Penguins with numbers increasing.