Patagonia Penguins – Raising Chicks

Patagonia Penguins – Raising Chicks

Music; Ambience: Sound of penguin colony

JM: We’re on the southernmost tip of Argentina, where you can find some of the largest penguin colonies in the world. Right now it’s summer in the southern hemisphere, and penguin parents are on call full time, traveling as far as 200 miles in search of food to satisfy their ravenous chicks. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Field researcher Graham Harris studies penguins at the Punto Tombo colony on the Patagonian coast.

GH: “The chicks are born during the month of November. During the first month there will always be a parent there. But then as the chicks grow, both parents have to go and search for food, and so the chicks will often gather, and the parents will come back briefly to feed their chicks and then leave in search of more food. And both parents are doing this all the time, up until the time that the chicks molt, which is in February, and finally leave.”

JM: Because Patagonian penguins have only a few months to prepare their young for the harsh life navigating the South Atlantic, the parents of these fast growing chicks seek out food with a manic intensity. Their mannerisms may seem comic to a human observer, but finding and delivering enough food each day to keep a penguin chick alive, is no laughing matter.

GH: “They actually have to come and go quite rapidly especially as the chicks grow. They’ve got to find food within a day or two. If they fail to do that, then the chicks will die. On a bad year, one can lose over 90% of the chicks. Even in the best of years a large number of chicks die.”

JM: By March, the penguin chicks that survive will be abandoned by their parents. By April, they’ll take to the cold Atlantic, migrating as far north as Rio de Janeiro and returning here to Patagonia in September without ever touching land. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation.

Patagonia Penguins - Raising Chicks

For Patagonian penguins, parenting requires manic intensity to insure survival of their chicks.
Air Date:11/30/2012
Scientist:
Transcript:

Patagonia Penguins - Raising Chicks

Music; Ambience: Sound of penguin colony

JM: We're on the southernmost tip of Argentina, where you can find some of the largest penguin colonies in the world. Right now it's summer in the southern hemisphere, and penguin parents are on call full time, traveling as far as 200 miles in search of food to satisfy their ravenous chicks. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Field researcher Graham Harris studies penguins at the Punto Tombo colony on the Patagonian coast.

GH: "The chicks are born during the month of November. During the first month there will always be a parent there. But then as the chicks grow, both parents have to go and search for food, and so the chicks will often gather, and the parents will come back briefly to feed their chicks and then leave in search of more food. And both parents are doing this all the time, up until the time that the chicks molt, which is in February, and finally leave."

JM: Because Patagonian penguins have only a few months to prepare their young for the harsh life navigating the South Atlantic, the parents of these fast growing chicks seek out food with a manic intensity. Their mannerisms may seem comic to a human observer, but finding and delivering enough food each day to keep a penguin chick alive, is no laughing matter.

GH: "They actually have to come and go quite rapidly especially as the chicks grow. They've got to find food within a day or two. If they fail to do that, then the chicks will die. On a bad year, one can lose over 90% of the chicks. Even in the best of years a large number of chicks die."

JM: By March, the penguin chicks that survive will be abandoned by their parents. By April, they'll take to the cold Atlantic, migrating as far north as Rio de Janeiro and returning here to Patagonia in September without ever touching land. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation.