Label: Penguins

October 22, 2013

Do you ever watch the great wildlife documentaries on Discovery Channel and wonder how they get their amazing footage of animals living in the wild? I know I do.

There is a new Discovery documentary called PENGUINS: WADDLE ALL THE WAY coming up on November 23 here in the U.S. And to get the footage of the penguins, Discovery used robotic "penguins," fitted with cameras, who lived among the real birds! More than 50 of these remote control cameras lived with penguins - some disguised as adults, some as chicks, and some even camouflaged as eggs.

Producer John Downer, who developed the "penguin-cams," says that the robot cameras can "swim, toboggan, waddle, jump and even lay fake eggs. In fact, they appear so lifelike that some of the penguins try to befriend them."

And for all these reasons, the penguin-cam is our Cool Photo of the Week! 


Photo: John Downer / Discovery Channel 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cool Photo, Penguins   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 21, 2012

Do you remember our story late last year about the rescue effort to save Blue Penguins, who were at risk after an oil spill of New Zealand? They have made great progress cleaning up the spill, but wild life rescuers are still collecting little sweaters, to have on hand for penguins who are rescued in the future. These penguins in their sweaters are so cute that we decided this qualified as our "Cool Photo of the Week"!















When they are soaked in oil, penguins need to be prevented from trying to preen themselves, so that they won’t ingest the toxic oil. And they also need help staying warm. Sweaters are the perfect solution to both of these problems, and knitters all over the world responded by making and sending penguin sweaters.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Penguins   •  Permalink (link to this article)

January 17, 2012

The cool photo of the week is….a white penguin! This unusual white Chinstrap penguin was spotted by a naturalist onboard a ship off Antarctica’s Aitcho Islands. This is a leucistic (pronounced lew-SIS-tic) penguin, which means that it has less than the normal amount of pigment, or coloration, in its skin and feathers.


It is a fairly rare sight, since the penguin’s black and white coloring serves as camouflage. When it is fishing, a penguin’s black back makes it blend in with the dark waters below, protecting it from predators avove. Similarly, its white belly makes it blend in with the sky when viewed by predators from below. That is a common survival mechanism among many animals (think about birds in the sky, or fish with light-colored bellies and darker colors on top). And that is why it is so rare to see a leucistic penguin. Since their coloration does not protect them, fewer survive to breed, resulting in very few among the general population. 

Photo: David Stephens / Lindblad Expeditions

Read more about Penguins in Seymour Simon’s book, now out in paperback.



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cool Photo, Penguins   •  Permalink (link to this article)

December 8, 2011



Forty-nine penguins rescued from an oil spill off New Zealand have been nursed back to health and were released back into the ocean on Tuesday by wildlife rescuers and local schoolchildren.



Don’t you love this photograph of Little Blue Penguins running back into the ocean? 

They were fitted with microchips, so that researchers can track the progress of their recovery.

The birds released Tuesday are among 343 little blue penguins that have been cleaned of oil since a cargo ship ran aground on a reef off the coast of New Zealand on Oct. 5 and spilled some 400 tons of fuel oil. More than 2,000 sea birds died in the spill. Fortunately, marine life experts from New Zealand, Australia and the United States worked together to save the animals who returned happily to the sea this week.

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Penguins, Oil Spills, Marine Life   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 7, 2011

Today’s "Cool Photo of the Week" is of a Rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome). They are called "rockhoppers" because they live on cold, rocky islands and get around by hopping from rock to rock. Click here to see a video of a whole flock of rockhopper penguins doing their thing!

These unusual looking penguins have dark red eyes, and their heads are decorated with a tuft of yellow feathers that look like eyebrows sticking out from the side of the head. They are carnivores (meat eaters), feeding on crustaceans, cephalopods and small fish. When trying to attract a mate, a Rockhopper will shake its head back and forth, tossing and showing off those beautiful yellow feathers.

Like all penguins, rockhoppers move awkwardly on land, but they are powerful swimmers. Check out this amazing video of rockhoppers surfing the waves.



You can read more about Penguins in Seymour Simon’s book, which is now available in paperback. 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: birds, Oceans, Cool Photo, Penguins   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 5, 2011

            penguin chick

I recently received a letter from a mother which reminded me of my own experience when my kids were growing up. She wrote:

“I have a seven year old that I read your penguin book to. Now she wants to have a pet penguin. I’ve explained to her that she can’t own one as a pet at home, but she wants to know if there are any organizations that care for penguins that she, and/or her class could sponsor and call her/their own.

Her school mascot is the penguin and she was thinking about wanting to start a penguin club. Can someone adopt a penguin, and if so, how? Is there a place that we can contact? Is there a place that takes contributions to help care for them? Your book is terrific. It really moved her.”


Penguins book cover

This letter really touched me because my own son, Michael, also loved penguins when he was in elementary school. In fact, I dedicated my book PENGUINS to him, writing: “For my son Michael, who was President of the Penguin Club in elementary school.” When Michael (who is now an adult) read the dedication, he objected, saying “Dad, that was an appointment for LIFE!” Funny guy, my youngest son.

We’ve done some research and found an organization called the International Penguin Conservation Work Group ( which allows one to adopt a penguin!

Why should kids be concerned about the welfare of penguins? Well, like many marine animals, commercial fishing practices endanger penguin colonies, particularly when overfishing depletes the food sources near their breeding grounds. Governments, conservation groups and the fishing industry worldwide are working together to develop safe and responsible practices that will protect our precious marine wildlife, including penguins.

Parents and Educators can download a free, 5-page Teacher Guide that we’ve created to use with my PENGUINS book. It includes Questions to Ask Before and After Reading, Suggested Activities, Additional Resources, and a child activity page. Download it from my website and use it with your kids to help them get even more out of the experience of reading the book.

Photo: Lyn Irvine



Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, Conservation, Penguins, Kids comments   •  Permalink (link to this article)