Sep 18 2014
That’s an odd-looking emperor penguin, coasting on his belly with a black square on his chest. But he’s not a real penguin. He’s a spy in the huddle!
The series follows emperor penguins in Antarctica, rockhopper penguins on the Falkland Islands, and Humboldt penguins in Peru’s Atacama Desert using more than 50 life-size animatronic spycams. The cams are so well disguised that after a brief examination the penguins generally accept the robots as one of their own.
This technique gets awesome footage. One cam even caused marital strife.
Like many birds, male penguins arrive first on the breeding grounds and wait for their ladies to arrive. Emperors choose a new mate every year but rockhoppers mate for life so each male waits and calls for his lady. If she’s late, she may have died. What’s a guy to do? He courts a new female. One spycam got into big trouble when a lonely male made overtures just before his lady returned. She was late and she was angry!
Watch “The Journey” on PBS next Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8:00pm EDT. In Pittsburgh it’s on WQED.
In the next two weeks I’ll also review “First Steps” and “Growing Up,” premiering on October 1 and October 8 respectively.
Thanks to our local penguin experts, The National Aviary, for underwriting this series. Get an up-close and personal penguin fix at their Penguin Point exhibit in Pittsburgh. Irrepressible, irresistible penguins!
(photo of courtesy of Frederique Olivier/©JDP via PBS NATURE)