|A couple of adult Magellanic Penguins|
|Melinka Ferry to Magellan Island|
Magellanic penguins can live up to 25 years with as many as 300,000 penguins roosting on this small island. Male and female look exactly alike, weigh about 11 pounds and mate for life. Couples are only together six months of the year, parting after babies are born, trained to hunt for food, and sent on their way. Males and females will go separate directions for the winter, hooking back up the next year - same place, same time- with only the female’s ability to identify her mate’s call bringing them back together.
Upon arrival on the island, we had been strictly instructed NOT to stray from the marked path that led from the dock to an old lighthouse. Looking at the island from the boat, I thought I was gazing at Prairie Dog Town in Lubbock, Texas. With no vegetation for shade, thousand of penguins stood guard outside the hole that was their home. They return to the exact same burrow each year where two eggs are produced by the female and hatched by both parents.
By our visit in March, the babies had already been pushed out to sea to find their way up the east coast of Argentina, led by an adolescent. All adolescents had also been sent packing. No coddling or overprotective parents here. Remaining were adults, easy to identify by the broad black stripes on their chests. The wider the strip, the older the penguin. They had to bulk up - gain back weight lost in feeding babies all summer. No fishing boats were allowed near the island, but adults still would be out for 2 or 3 days to find food, swimming as far as the Atlantic and Pacific.
|Tourists on path through the Magellanic Penguins on Magellan Island|
|Molting Magellanic Penguin|
|Skuas, Sea Gulls and Magellanic Penguins on Magellan Island|
|Magellanic Penguins close to the water|