Dive into a twisting swarm of sardines with these amazing penguin statues

Sardines disperse wildly as a smooth penguin head whizzes through their tight swirling mass in blue-green waters of Wildlife Conservation Society images. One of those silver sardines becomes the penguin’s dinner on the second flight.

Taken in the Beagle Channel near Isla Martillo, Argentina, the penguin bodycam images helped clarify the bird’s eating ecology.

“We wrote in many papers that the seabird community in the Beagle Channel is dependent on sardines,” says marine ecologist Andrea Raya Rey. “But this is the real proof, and now it’s confirmed and with a star behind the camera: the penguin.”

Up to 90 cm (35 in) high, donkeys (Pygoscelis papua) are the third largest penguins in the world. These sweet todlers call sub-Antarctic islands home. They build pebble nests on these rocky shores and are notorious for stealing pebbles from other penguins’ nests.

Gentoo penguins can swim an impressive 35 km (22 miles) per hour — faster than any other diving bird — and can dive as deep as 90 m (300 feet). Using this powerful diving ability, they are believed to scour near the seafloor in search of food such as crustaceans and squid. But the video shows they won’t miss a chance for some fish closer to the surface.

Raya Rey studies the donkey colonies in Argentina to better understand how changes in their environment affect them. Unlike many other species, it appears that climate change is increasing this penguin’s range — moving south as ice fields recede.

However, this doesn’t mean they are immune to other associated threats, such as the projected increase in krill fisheries, as we adapt to new ways of feeding human populations or toxic algal blooms and diseases that invade waters that were once too cold to sustain such. threats to thrive .

And if they rely more on small pelagic fish like sardines than previously thought, they could be affected even sooner, as other penguin species already have.

The Gentoo Penguin with the “PenguinCam”. (Sabrina Harris)

In the meantime, however, the feathered amateur film-maker did not seem to mind his scientific assignment.

“We only plugged the device in for one foraging trip,” Raya Rey says. “On the penguin’s return, we disconnected the device and monitored the nest’s breeding success. The Gentoo continued with its parental duties and looked after the offspring.”


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