Sep 25 2014
“First Steps” is full of happiness, fights and danger.
Happiness when the eggs hatch and adorable chicks emerge. So cute!
Fights when emperors and rockhoppers without chicks gang up on parent birds and forcably try to adopt their “kids.” Fights ensue. The chicks run away. Who knew that penguins could be kidnappers?!
Danger when… Well, danger is everywhere for baby birds. Will there be enough food? Will the chicks get separated from their parents? Will any predators be successful? Usually the birds triumph but sometimes it ends badly. A touching scene among the emperors reminds us that mothers’ grief is universal.
The cleverly disguised spycams play an unexpected part. Penguins and predators are both interested in the eggcams. The penguins try to adopt them. The predators try to eat them. This produces very close looks at penguin belly feathers and far, tumbling views of the colonies.
Again, many thanks to The National Aviary for underwriting this series. Their African penguins just completed their annual “catastrophic molt” and are looking good just in time for Pittsburgh Penguins hockey season.
(photo courtesy of Philip Dalton/©JDP via PBS NATURE)