When you live in Antarctica and wear a tuxedo it is a group activity to keep warm on a cold winter day. Scientists have documented that emperor penguins form huddles to stay warm in the frigid temperatures of this habitat.
The penguins have a sophisticated system of rotation to make sure that no one gets too cold, but by studying the Pointe Géologie Archipelago colony researchers have found that huddles are sometimes very short-lived activities for the birds.
When the cold sets in or the wind kicks up, the birds seek out a huddle. The temperatures in the huddle can become much higher than the birds comfort level and researchers first believed that the huddles would break up from the center, but after spending years observing these animals they found that one single bird leaving from the outside can break up a huddle.
While scientists may have originally thought huddles were a simple process in the penguin lifestyle, there is much more that can be learned from the way that these birds socially regulate their temperatures.
Read the article: A Single Penguin can break up a huddle!
To learn more about penguins here are some great stories to share with your little ones:
The Penguin Lady
by Carol A Cole, illus. by Sherry Rogers
Penelope Parker lives with penguins! Short ones, tall ones; young and old—the penguins are from all over the Southern Hemisphere including some that live near the equator! Do the penguin antics prove too much for her to handle? Children count and then compare and contrast the different penguin species as they learn geography.
Polar Bears and Penguins: A Compare and Contrast Book
by Katharine Hall
Polar bears and penguins may like cold weather but they live at opposite ends of the Earth. What do these animals have in common and how are they different? You might see them near each other at a zoo but they would never be found in the same habitats in the wild. Compare and contrast these polar animals through stunning photographs.