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Trouble with Skuas

where are we today?

Today was a blustery day at Cape Royds: gray skies, intermittent snow, and a cold south wind whistling over the ice. At the penguin colony, my eye was immediately drawn to brown shapes wheeling in the skies. Large seabirds called skuas were having a field day, coasting in the lee of the Cape Royds cliffs, then shooting over the bluffs where the full force of the wind sent them skyrocketing.

Skuas are a fact of life at penguin colonies, always lingering around the edges or flying low over the crowded nests. From time to time they swoop down, singly or as a two-skua team, to steal a penguin egg or young chick. Adult penguins fight back bravely, but often they lose out. In the water, leopard seals are a penguin’s main source of anxiety. But at the colony the enemy is the skua, as we saw up close today.

Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »

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