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Macaroni Penguin

Macaroni Penguin

Empire Penguins have been given a lot of publicity lately, and they do deserve it. But in fact there are other species of penguins that are really fun to learn about. I would love to go to Antarctica and see them for myself someday. They certainly deserve to be honored in one way or another, and I am doing that for the Macaroni Penguin with this gourd.

Macaronis are apparently quite abundant and inhabit the sub-Antarctic islands. They are a couple of feet tall and weigh enough to make your feet sink in the snow if you pick them up. Like most Antarctic penguins they eat krill and fish and do their best to avoid becoming lunch for some leopard seal, walrus or orca whale. They were named by early English explorers who thought that their yellow-orange crest looked like the hats of 18th century men called 'macaronis'. (Harken back to the song 'Yankee Doodle' and you will know what I mean).

It seems that all penguins work real hard at protecting their young, but for some reason Macaronis do their own bit of natural selection. They lay two eggs, and end up kicking one out so that only one gets hatched and raised. How they make that selection, I have no idea. Anyway. It must be some form of Macaronis natural selection that we may never understand.

I hope to see you in Saratoga next Sunday.

Margie Lopez Read