Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Amazing Penguins

The next time you visit the Tennessee Aquarium you might be lucky enough to observe some interesting behavior called porpoising. Karen Estes, Aquarium graphic designer, captured Bug in mid-air during one of these athletic displays. Both the gentoos, like Bug, and the macaronis will show off with these bursts of energy from time to time. It's very exciting to see the birds racing back and forth across the exhibit, popping in and out of the water and reversing directions with amazing speed. If you're not fortunate to see this in person at the Aquarium, there are video displays in the penguin gallery that show this behavior in the wild. Penguins use this tactic primarily to evade predators. Kevin Calhoon, the Aquarium's assistant curator of forests, witnessed gentoos doing this near Antarctica and said it appeared to him that they might also porpoise to travel long distances swiftly. Either way, it's an awesome sight.

Another awesome sight was captured by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society. This time it was an African penguin displaying some truly unbelievably bold behavior.

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