Snuggled safely on its mother’s feet, a newborn penguin chick peers out at the camera. A photographer braved sub-zero temperatures to capture these tender moments between adult penguins and their young. Linda Drake travelled onboard an icebreaker ship to get to Snow Hill Island, which lies off the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.
There she found the colony of Emperor penguins caring for their offspring and protecting them from the bitterly cold conditions. The birds allow their newborn chicks to perch on their feet and nuzzle under their bodies to shelter while the other parent forages for food. Ms Drake, 40, said: “I only had three hours with the penguins that trip but it was still the most fantastic thing I have ever experienced. Seeing the bond between the parents and the young penguins was really special. The chicks were being kept warm in the brood pouch and on top of the feet of the parent. They looked so cute.”
After the female penguin lays a single egg, she transfers it to the male to incubate while she heads out to sea to feed. The male spends the winter incubating the egg in his brood pouch, balancing it on the tops of his feet for 64 consecutive days until hatching. The young chick is then brooded in the ‘guard phase’, spending time balanced on its parent’s feet and sheltered in the brood pouch. The female penguin returns at any time from hatching to ten days afterwards and the parents then take it in turns to look after the chick and forage for food.
Ms Drake, from California, United States, added: “I make trips to the Antarctic and the Arctic every year. I have endured temperatures of 60 below zero, had frostbite on my nose and cheeks and even lost a few milimetres off the tip of the finger I use on my camera button.”
to peer out at sg – alaposan megnéz valamit
sub-zero – nulla fok alatti
tender – gyengéd
offspring – leszármazottak, utódok
to perch on sg – ráül valamire
to nuzzle to sy/sg – odadörgölőzik valakihez
to forage for sg – kutat valami után
to incubate – (ki)költ
to brood – költ, kotlik
frostbite – fagyás