It’s Not all Black & White



This post is inspired by my fellow blogger Levi Thetford (Levi’s Daily Thoughts). He recently posted a beautiful piece on the fascinating ‘hummingbird’ ~ truly an amazing animal.  I found myself so intrigued by the thorough details that Levi provided in his piece, that I thought I’d post a kind of ‘response’ piece, if you will. My amazing animal of choice is the ‘penguin’. Thanks for the inspiration Levi!


For as long as I can remember, I have found penguins to be among the hardest working animals there are. Sure, when seen in photos, they can be found hanging out in huge groups together, almost appearing to be attending some kind of ongoing and informal meeting, while taking in the scene(s) around them. However, there’s so much more to this remarkable bird than meets the eye.

Aside from their perfect tuxedo-tailored black & white coloring and the cute waddle they have when making their way across the land, penguins have unbelievable survival skills. Along with those skills comes an incredible sense of responsibility.

Did you know that there are over 18 species of penguins in the world? Unfortunately, thirteen of these species have decreasing populations, while five species are considered endangered and/or facing the possibility of extinction. Sadly, penguins can be found in captivity all over the world. However, captive breeding programs are well received by penguins. The success of these programs have helped to preserve the penguin population. Further  preservation and conservation tactics need to be implemented and practiced consistently, in order to help prevent extinction and endangerment from becoming  harsh realities.

Did you know that penguins lost their ability to fly millions of years ago? No worries though because they have very strong flippers; this and their streamline build, enable them to be excellent swimmers. Did you know that the penguin is the fastest swimming and the deepest diving species of any bird?

The primary place where penguins can be found is in the Southern Hemisphere. Although penguins are famously associated with Antartica, they have a significant widespread presence in South America, with penguin populations also found in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. These resourceful birds can also be found on tiny islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Here are a few of the penguin species:


    • Galapados Penguin – lives all year-round near the equator on Galapados Islands. This is one of the only penguin species that is capable of traveling into the Northern Hemisphere; a rare occurrence that can happen during feeding.
    • Yellow-Eyed Penguin – is one of the rarest penguins in the world and is found in the Southeastern coast of the South Island and Stewart, Auckland and Campbell Islands south of South Island.
    • Fairy Penguin – is often referred to as “little penguins”, can be found on Victoria’s Phillip Island. They emerge from the sea at dusk and seemingly march in large numbers to their burrows on the beach.
    • Emperor Penguin – is the most recognizable of the penguin species and is the largest, weighing as much as 90 pounds; essential since they cannot feed for up to two months during the incubation of their single egg. In turn, they feed off the fat reserve of that additional weight.

The documentary “March of the Penguins” by Laura Klappenbach, chronicles the grueling journey of the Emperor Penguin as they travel across the frigid Antarctic. This film provides a very realistic account and up-close view of the harsh and brutal conditions that these remarkable birds have to undergo throughout the course of a year. If these penguins are successful in their trek, they will pair off, mate and raise their babies, while withstanding some of the coldest and darkest places known on earth.

The male penguins stay behind in one huge huddle to stay warm and protect the egg(s), while the female penguins goes out to sea to hunt for food. The males can remain in this upright ‘stance’ for weeks and months, while withstanding the brutal Arctic winds. This goes back to my opening comment about the penguins amazing sense of responsibility, not to mention adaptability. Levi Thetford entitled his post: What Does the Hummingbird Teach Us? The same question can be asked concerning penguins. I’d say they can definitely teach us a bit about accountability and perseverance. So, the next time you see a piece on these amazing tuxedo-wearing birds, just know that there’s so much more to these resilient animals and that everything is not all black and white. After reading this post, wouldn’t you agree?



By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google Images

July 2020

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