With the return of the Adelie Penguins to Cape Royds, the predatory South Polar Skua is not far behind. These birds will makes their nests and lay their eggs very near or within the penguin colony. First the penguin eggs, then the chicks become an easy food source for the Skua family.
Skuas work in pairs, One distracts the nesting penguin, while the other waits for the exact moment to grab the egg or chick from the nest. Skuas are one reason Adelie Penguins build their nests in groups and in the rocks. The small sub-colony in the picture was full of nesting penguins a week ago, but it is exposed and not a large enough group to fend off the attacks. You can see there is only one nest left. We will watch this nest to see if they survive.
To see more pictures of Adelie Penguins and Antarctica go to www.penguinscience.com
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Postcards from the Field: Adelie Penguins 2007