Meeting the 'Emperor' in Antarctica
Bob Champoux, an instructor with the Thompson School's Civil Technology
program, is in Antarctica for a year-long professional development program.
Recently Champoux sent photos of an Emperor penguin that he met recently
while doing research.
to Champoux, he and a colleague were surveying on the ice shelf when
they heard the unmistakable squawk of an Emperor penguin.
and the Emperor penguin.
"Having no predators on land, being incredibly inquisitive and
of poor eyesight, they will come right up to check you out. So, from
away, one flops on their belly and ski-daddles right up to us to check
on what we were doing. They will easily come within 5 feet of you
if you are laying down or on your knees. After about 20 minutes, he
was off," he said.
"It's the time of year when they come up on land and molt. Unlike
other birds who lose and replace feathers a few at a time, penguins
come out of the water and lose all of their feathers in two week's
time. This guy had probably walked 50 miles from open water, on his
3-inch long legs, to get this far. They just pick a spot and hang
out. There's nothing as frumpy-looking as a penguin standing still
for two weeks while the old feathers blow away and new ones come in,"
While in Antarctica, Champoux is enjoying high temperatures in the mid-teens
and bright sun for most of the day. "Sunrise is at 2:20 a.m.
Sunset is 12:54 a.m. That's 1:26 minutes of 'night time.' "