Pretty Penguins

It's Wednesday morning in Asia. I've been plugging away at the computer for a few days, but the mountain of work in front of me doesn't seem to have diminished. Probably never will. Sigh.

To cheer myself up, I started the morning by looking at penguins...because they make me smile. Maybe they'll do the same for you.

Here is a group of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) getting ready to go to work, i.e., head to sea to look for food:

African penguins (Spheniscus demersus)
African penguins heading to sea (License image)

By way of trivia that might help you impress someone at some point or help fill an awkward silence during conversation with someone you might want to impress but are actually just annoying...when African penguins wake up in the morning, they often stand around with a dumbstruck expression, looking at times like they just need a moment, just a moment, to collect themselves and pull it all together. Like me before coffee.

Every once in a while, one will tense up, stand tall (or should that be "stand short" in the case of a penguin?), look toward the heavens, point wings/ flippers straight down, and emit the most horrific squawking sound you can imagine, over and over, reminiscent of a braying donkey having a really bad day. That's why they are also known as jackass penguins. Truth be told, I prefer that moniker, because...well...they sound exactly like jackasses! 

I met the penguins above in South Africa. They're beautiful animals: ones that entertain you without meaning to; ones that make you laugh even if you're feeling grumpy; ones that make you ponder how we justify the way we treat the planet.

This is how estimates of jackass penguin populations have progressed: Year 1800: 4 million; Year 1900: 1.5 million; Now: Maybe 50,000 +/-.

Enough said.