Look at my pose!
Penguin wings, called “flippers,” are quite heavy and very stiff because of the density of their bones and muscles. In the water, the flippers act like the oars of a ship, but on land, they become weapons to defend themselves against foreign enemies. They are so powerful that they can snap the wings of large birds. The flippers are an important part of the penguin’s body that is essential to its survival.
So how do penguins leap over glaciers that are many times higher than their bodies? Kazuoki Ueda, a researcher at the Penguin Council of Japan who conducts penguin research and conservation activities, explains.
When penguins jump from the water to the iceberg, they measure the height visually, and the fastest penguins accelerate to a speed of about 35 km/h. Then, just before they jump, they accelerate to a speed of about 30 km/h. Just before jumping, the penguins dive to a depth of about 15 meters and use their buoyancy and flippers to jump out with great force. The flippers are so heavy that they can withstand the water pressure and exert maximum power.
Four species of penguins make such a daring jump around Antarctica: the large white-fronted penguin, Adélie penguin, gentoo penguin, and bearded penguin. It takes three to four years after birth for them to be able to jump, and the larger males can jump higher than the females. The reason they make such big jumps is not because they are competing with each other, but because their natural enemies, killer whales and seals, may be waiting for them near the water’s surface.
To get out of harm’s way as quickly as possible, the penguins are flying today.
They look so cool as they leap so boldly with their tiny bodies!
There are no enemies! Let’s go!
This is as high as I can go.
Almost there! Hang in there!
You have to be able to ride the big wave!
We are the three musketeers of penguin ministry!
They have a handsome and beautiful form as if they were flying in the sky.
From the July 29 and August 5, 2022 issues of FRIDAY