Penguins Penguins Life a Year Life of Penguin Penguins Life Phase a Year Penguins Life Cycle

Emperor penguins, are creatures considered as a tribe- the only tribe- which stays in South Pole, Antartica. It is said that the penguins, were the only ones which stood still when ice started to cover the green South Pole; while the others had gone away.

When March comes, that means time for the penguins to do the ritual, that is, ritual of love which always happens for thousand years. Every March they go up to the land of Antarctica, leaving their home (the sea) to find a mate. All of them will be walking to the same direction, but different path. Every year, the ice shifts and makes a new road. For the penguins, it means a block. But the sunlight of March helps a lot- penguins use it just like a compass which will guide them to find their way.

Many groups walked to the same place, from any direction. It is a place, where they were born about years ago. It’s quite far from water, also safe from predators. Covered by high ice walls, this place is just a perfect place since the walls work as shields protecting penguins from the breezing wind. The ice ground is solid, which will prevent the chicks from falling down to the ocean by ice breaking.

Male penguin is usually lesser than female. There will be tough competition, though. The female will do anything, just like “slapping” and “pushing”- let’s just call it by “contact sports”-, to get a male. In few weeks, finally the two lovers have found each other. Male and female in pairs, will be mating. And soon … there will be new life.

In May, temperature continues to drop. Usually for penguins that come late for their March, they won’t get a mate. Thus, the survival will get harder for them. No longer alive, they will fade away. Any further of this month, there will be no light. Moon just comes and goes, but no sun- it feels like an endless night for the penguins.

Early June, each mom lays an egg. The mother keeps the egg between her feet. But also, they have task to find some food in the ocean for the newborn. So it will be the father’s job to take care of the eggs. But transferring an egg from mom to dad, it’s not that easy. Sometimes they’re too rushing, and the egg will crack. If this case happens, their relationship will be over and they will go back to the sea.

The father struggles so hard to take care of the egg for a month, without food. Meanwhile, the mother is in a road trip, going back to the place where they started 3 months ago- the sea edge. Gathering for food in the sea, a penguin can hold breath only 15 minutes and dive to about 1700 m deep under. But they have to be careful, since there are so many predators in the sea, especially seals. Unlucky mother will get caught in their jaw and become their meal.

July, the female goes back to nest. At the same time, the eggs hatch. These newborns are hungry, but the fathers have been starving for months too. If their mates don’t come back soon, they will be forced to leave those chicks behind and go back to the sea, to feed them self. At least, the females come, with bellies full filled with food. By “singing”, the two lovers will find each other somehow, even though the sound is deafening.

The males quickly pass the chick to their mates, for it’s time for the mother to take care of the chick and keep it warm. Then they will come back to the sea, over 70 miles of long road they have to walk on. That’s the reason why males are lesser, since not all of them power full enough to reach the sea. Meanwhile, the females stay, taking care of their chick. As the sun goes high, the chicks grow up and learn their first step. But the temperature begins to drop; some chicks may not survive in the first storm of winter.

Late August, it’s time for the mother to go back to the sea, to feed. The chicks will be left behind, alone, for the first time. But not for so long time, because the fathers soon return with bellies full of supply. Due to spring which nearly comes, the temperature begins to rise. Thus, melting the ice and shorten the distance between the breeding ground with the ocean, so that the father won’t have to walk that far.

The ice begins to crack in September. The penguins have stayed in Antarctica for about 9 months locked in such “ritual”; in November the family will prepare to separate for the first time. The mother and father go back to the sea, enjoying the warm of summer , while the young penguin stays and grows stronger. Until one day, they’ll go back home to a place where they belong- the sea – for the first time.

The young penguins will live in the sea for 4 years. When it is time, in March again, the ritual of love will begin…… just like what have been done for many years.