Field Notes

These are questions that researchers try to answer.Use your creative thinking to come up with your own answers. Use your journal to respond to these questions.


Click the picture to read the answer the these questions
1. Penguins frequently return to make their nests in the area of a colony where they themselves were hatched as a chick (natal area). What do you think would happen if a young adult returned to his natal nest (where he was hatched) only to find his parents there?
2. Many of the nests in the colony have these white markings around them. Can you think of why they are there and what causes them?
3. This brooding penguin is showing the "incubation patch." The egg nestles into this area when the penguin is lying in its nest. Give some reasons why this part of their body is not covered with feathers?
4. Most penguins build nests in groups. This picture shows one of these groups. The penguins donít leave the egg unguarded for even a minute, and will peck at any penguin that comes close to their nest. What advantage is there for the penguins to make their nests in a group? The distance between nests (measured center to center) is averaged to be about 1 m. What factors do you think determine this distance? What would happen if they were closer together? Further apart?

5. This penguin has built the nest away from any group. Do you think this is an advantage or disadvantage for successful chick rearing? We shall call this penguin Lonely Joe. Make a notation in your notebook about the chances for this penguin to succeed in raising chicks. We will follow Lonely Joe and his mate as they attempt to raise their chick(s).

6. There were two eggs in this nest and you can see that the first one has hatched. The second one is in a hatching stage called pipping (the chick’s beak is beginning to break through). It will take a full day for the chick to completely break free of the shell. Write down some advantages to being the first born. Think of some advantages to being the second born. Make a decision, would you rather be the first or second born penguin? Justify your decision.
7. Many times you will see pictures of lions sitting among the impala, or dozing under a tree near the water hole where hundreds of potential prey come to drink. The prey are wary, but come to drink anyway. Here you see the penguin and the Skua sitting together at peace. The Skua depends on the penguin for food (eggs and chicks) to raise it's own chicks. How can this be that they sit together? Reflect on this in your notebook.
8. Some birds breed all year round and may hatch their chicks in any month. The pattern is just the opposite for Adelie Penguins. In some Adelie colonies, half of all eggs are laid within a 6-day period in November, and all are laid within about a 2 week period. Therefore, the hatching is also synchronous (close to the same date). This picture shows a parent with two chicks a few days old and a parent with a still un-hatched egg. Remember that the main predator in this colony is the Skua, and the summer is very short. Make a list of advantages and disadvantages for chicks to hatch early in the season? or later in the season? What short and long term advantages are there for penguins to synchronize their hatching date?
9. This penguin has been on the nest for 3 days over the normal limit. The mate may not return. The drive to procreate may soon give way to the drive for protein. If the brooding adult leaves, the egg will surely die. Penguins are probably not capable of making a conscious decision like you and me. Make a list of specific things that would trigger this penguin to abandon the nest.

10.This is a nesting group of penguins within the colony. Some of the nests are in the center and some are near the fringe of the group. What advantages and disadvantages are there to being in the center of the group? on the fringe? If you were a penguin, where in the group would you want to build your nest?


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