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Penguin Tales: Migration 101

posted 25 April, 2017 by Morgan Metzger

The chicks have left the nest, I repeat, the chicks have left the nest! Since our last Spiffy the penguin update, our beloved adopted Magellanic Penguin, Spiffy, had two chicks. If you missed this update, check it out here. Our Spiffy lives in the Cabo Virgenes, which is the border between Chile and Argentina in South America.

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Three weeks have passed, and Spiffy’s chicks are now migrating to Brazil, where it is sunny and a balmy 60 degrees. Eventually, Spiffy and the other adults in the colony will follow the chicks to Brazil since the adults need to stay back and put on weight before they depart to Brazil. Since the chicks have never been out to sea, they need to build endurance by performing flipper exercises that they practice on land and in shallow water. Who knew that penguins also enjoyed group aerobics classes!

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Even with proper training and conditioning it’s difficult to be fully prepared for the harsh terrain of the open sea. Luckily, they can feed on and rest near kelp beds which contain a copious amount of shrimp and other yummy creatures. Without the kelp beds, the chicks would have a difficult time finding food, leaving them without the energy to continue swimming. Fortunately, there are numerous kelp beds on the trip to Brazil, so they will be able to take breaks on their 3,000-mile migration. Since Spiffy fed the chicks for the first part of their life, they have become accustomed to 5 star room service, with top quality fish. Now they are scavenging and eating bottom-of-the-food-chain crustaceans, but hey, it builds character!

In Brazil, there are no breeding penguin colonies and no penguin nests there, it’s merely a winter feeding spot where penguins can avoid the cold back home. In the Cabo Virgenes it generally ranges from 30-40 degrees fahrenheit in the winter months and 50-60 degrees fahrenheit in Brazil. The temperature difference is crucial for these penguin’s survival, so migration is a must in these colonies! Unfortunately, while raising the chicks, Spiffy lost a lot of weight and needs to beef up before the annual moult in a few months. Moulting is a process where penguins lose their feathers and grow new ones, essentially getting a new coat. During this process, penguins do not have a waterproof coat, so they need to fast until their new features are completely grown in. Luckily, Spiffy is now an empty-nester so she can now float in the water and get fat and happy before she makes the journey to Brazil to be reunited with her family!

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Our office, especially our marketing team, has loved getting these updates and are excited to hear about Spiffy and her colonies upcoming endeavours! Stay tuned for more fun updates about our beloved mascot, Spiffy.

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Posted in Lifestyle

Written by Morgan Metzger

Lover of coffee, the Wolfpack, and all things Spiffy. Spreading happiness and clean cars through each tweet, blog and Instagram post.