As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Let's All Chill: Antarctica's Adélie Penguins Are Probably Fine

By Becky Oskin, Contributing Writer   |   February 16, 2016 07:05am ET

Let's give the penguins a little credit.
The news reported around the world was startling — that some 150,000 Adélie penguins have died in Antarctica because a colossal iceberg cut off their sea access.

But there's no proof yet that the birds are dead. No one has actually found 150,000 frozen penguins. In fact, experts think there's a less horrific explanation for the missing birds: When the fishing gets tough, penguins simply pick up and move. It wouldn't be the first time Adélie penguins marched to new digs. When an iceberg grounded in the southern Ross Sea in 2001, penguins on Ross Island relocated to nearby colonies until the ice broke up.

"Just because there are a lot fewer birds observed doesn't automatically mean the ones that were there before have perished," said Michelle LaRue, a penguin population researcher at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who was not involved in the study. "They easily could have moved elsewhere, which would make sense if nearby colonies are thriving," LaRue told Live Science in an email interview.

Where did they go?
The misplaced penguins lived at a colony on Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay, in East Antarctica. In mid-February 2010, the Rhode Island-sized iceberg B09B crashed into the bay's Mertz Glacier. The stranded iceberg forced the penguins to walk more than 37 miles (60 kilometers) for food, researchers report in a new study. The greater the distance to dinner, the harder it is for baby chicks to get enough calories from their penguin parents. 

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