ANTARCTIC SUMMER: Gentoo Penguins

We’re listening to the sounds of Antarctica’s Gentoo penguins. This month, as winter becomes summer in Antarctica, Gentoos are giving birth. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Deborah Shapiro and Rolf Bjelke spent the better part of a year in Antarctica aboard their sailboat, Northern Light, which was frozen in the polar ice. They observed that when summer comes, and the temperatures creep above freezing, the snows melt to reveal the penguins’ pebble nests. And the penguins are right there waiting.

“The Gentoos never actually left the area all winter. Whenever there was a period of mild weather, they showed up again, and they would scatter out around on the snow, and we wondered whether or not they were actually coming as close to their nests as they possibly could. And sure enough, in the Spring, we saw that they are sitting on top of the snow. Some of them actually sat and melted a column, so they were now maybe 2 feet beneath snow level sitting in a tube, until all of the snow melted, and it turns out that they’re sitting right on their nest. It’s pretty good navigation.”

“A lot of the noise that you hear here is one Gentoo penguin that’s irritated by its neighbor, that’s a very typical sound, until the chicks are born. The first one that we see is about December 25, and from that point on, there’s a lot of the very high pitched little peeping as the chicks are begging for food from their parents.”

More on the Antarctic summer in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I’m Jim Metzner.

ANTARCTIC SUMMER: Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo penguins are giving birth this month, at the bottom of the world.
Air Date:01/15/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're listening to the sounds of Antarctica's Gentoo penguins. This month, as winter becomes summer in Antarctica, Gentoos are giving birth. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Deborah Shapiro and Rolf Bjelke spent the better part of a year in Antarctica aboard their sailboat, Northern Light, which was frozen in the polar ice. They observed that when summer comes, and the temperatures creep above freezing, the snows melt to reveal the penguins' pebble nests. And the penguins are right there waiting.

"The Gentoos never actually left the area all winter. Whenever there was a period of mild weather, they showed up again, and they would scatter out around on the snow, and we wondered whether or not they were actually coming as close to their nests as they possibly could. And sure enough, in the Spring, we saw that they are sitting on top of the snow. Some of them actually sat and melted a column, so they were now maybe 2 feet beneath snow level sitting in a tube, until all of the snow melted, and it turns out that they're sitting right on their nest. It's pretty good navigation."

"A lot of the noise that you hear here is one Gentoo penguin that's irritated by its neighbor, that's a very typical sound, until the chicks are born. The first one that we see is about December 25, and from that point on, there's a lot of the very high pitched little peeping as the chicks are begging for food from their parents."

More on the Antarctic summer in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. I'm Jim Metzner.