Look at the picture above! What does it look like? To me, when I first saw this picture, I thought it was a panoramic view that was taken from high above of the Southern Atlantic Ocean or something. Then I began to wonder what all of that white and brown stuff was that was seen on the photo. There are huge white patches which are surrounded by a lot of brown areas. It did look like as if something strange was going on in the waters or near it perhaps.
Once I zoomed in, I was astounded to find out that the brown patches were hordes of baby brown King Penguins, absolutely adorable in nature and to look at too. The surrounding swathes of white were adult penguins who were standing on guard circling the baby King Penguins.
But the question which surprised and amazed me was, why were these King Penguins standing here in such a position?
On further study, I found out that this is a natural course of childcare which King Penguins utilize. It is often said that it takes a whole village to raise a child and perhaps these penguins are offering some very solid proof to the statement.
South Georgia Island is one of the very few places in the world where these King Penguins form their colonies. These birds have some ingenious solution designed to take care of their young ones and in the pictures they are perhaps checking off their to-do lists.
From what I have found out about King Penguins and that too after a lot of study, these creatures are completely family-oriented. Till their mate is alive, these penguins don’t look for another mate. The females only lay one egg at one time and both the male and the female partners take turns to take care for the egg and keep it warm. The wait is about 60 days until the chicks hatch and then it takes another 3 weeks for them to get mature enough to enter what is referred to as the penguin form of day care.
When baby King Penguins are mature enough, the penguins round up their little ones, herd them into groups, the brown patches in the picture and then the adults protect the little ones. They form clusters surrounding the chicks so that they can keep them warm in freezing temperatures as the chicks aren’t yet mature enough to regulate their body temperatures.
The other adult penguins who aren’t looking after the young ones head off to work and spend time catching fish in the waters. Every three days, the penguins return to the chicks bearing food. They stay there while the others go back to hunt for food and replenish their energies.