Unraveling penguin secrets: How-to
David Ainley has been studying the penguins at Cape Royds for 12 years, and he started studying Adélies 40 years ago. In that time, he has continually updated his research as technology made it possible to add more details to the record books. Today his research is a mixture of advanced instrumentation and simple, patient fieldwork using little more than binoculars and a notebook. Some of his techniques have changed little since James Murray made the first-ever studies of Adélie penguins in 1908, right here at Cape Royds, as part of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition toward the South Pole.
“The work at Cape Royds is a little quiet at the moment,” Ainley said, “because it’s a small colony and because all the birds are incubating eggs,” so the parents have few demands on their time. That will change in a couple of weeks when the eggs hatch, revealing continually hungry chicks. By then, we’ll be checking in with Ainley’s colleagues at Cape Crozier to witness the mayhem. Meanwhile, here are the tasks and tools that keep Ainley busy.
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