December 19, 2017
Life as a Penguin
- as seen by -Claudio Campagna, B.J. Le Boeuf
This Magellanic penguin is returning from the sea. The ocean is fraught with danger, but it contains the food the animal requires. The land, too, is dangerous, but it is here the penguin partner waits, guarding their nest with chicks.
If the foraging trip at sea was too lengthy, the partner may have deserted and the chicks lost. If foraging was brief and successful, the chicks will get fed, and the partner will get to rest and eat. This is how it should go if genes are to be passed on to the next generation.
The image is dark, but it suggests the unknown, fulfillment or failure and captures the moment of vigilance and expectation. The track of foam behind the animal signals the past; the untouched pebbles waiting for the next step is the future.
Perhaps this bird does not have a sense of his or her life, but the observer believes he or she does. We know the facts of life, the annual cycle, the basics of reproductive behavior, and the energetic demands of this animal.
These are just some of the facts that represent the full life of the penguin.