We have delighted in visiting the Auster rookery to watch an increasing number of chicks balancing on the feet of their parents. The male penguin will keep the chick on his feet until the female returns from across the sea ice. The pair find each other by calling out until they recognise each other’s voice, and then the male will pass the chick over onto the feet of the female.
The parents are ensuring their chicks survive on sea ice by protecting them under a special fold of abdominal skin and balancing them on their insulated feet until the chicks are old enough to regulate their own body temperature.
A chick left alone on the ice at this time has a survival time of only around two minutes…
When the adult penguins venture away from the huddle to take their chicks on a walk, we have our cameras ready!