the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

20
January

National Penguin Awareness Day

Posted by Brittany

National Penguin Awareness DayI’ve been fascinated by penguins for as long as I can remember.  I think they’re just about the cutest, most amazing birds alive.  As a kid I had a plush penguin collection and some other penguin paraphernalia — I just couldn’t get enough of the little black and white birdies!  And whenever I had a chance to visit them, whether at the zoo or SeaWorld, I loved watching them.  Something about the way they walk upright, the way they waddle, just makes them seem so human.

Chris and I observed National Penguin Awareness Day by watching the 2005 Oscar winning documentary March of the Penguins.  The 80-minute movie chronicles the migration of Antarctica’s Emperor penguins as they make their yearly journey to their breeding ground.  Being a bit on the sensitive side, I never do well with nature docs and watching the plight of these gentle creatures left me in tears.  I was clueless about the hardships the Emperors endure, hatching their eggs while literally starving, and battling subzero temperatures and heavy snowstorms as their chicks mature.

Despite my tears, Chris and I couldn’t help but laugh and smile as we watched the chicks running and playing during some of the milder days.  They looked so much like little children, and it’s easy to see why the family bond between mother, father, and baby is so strong.  Emperor penguins are monogamous for a year at a time, during each mating season, and it takes an admirable team effort for the mates to give their egg or chick the best possible chance at survival.  Maybe it’s this family dynamic and their fierce loyalty that makes the nature of the Emperor penguin so  human-like and compelling.

March of the Penguins was a great movie.  Morgan Freeman’s warm soothing voice, and a glimpse of just how frigid life really is at the earth’s extremes will make you forget it’s even winter here.  If you haven’t seen this film yet, stock up on Kleenex and add it to your Netflix queue.

The animals have got it good this week.  Tomorrow is Squirrel Appreciation Day!

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