Through the Looking Glass of Val Lee—Little Blue Penguins of Australia and New Zealand

 

Little Blue Penguin

                                                                 Little Blue Penguin

Sydney Opera House © Val J. Lee

Sydney Opera House © Val J. Lee

Our Ship docked adjacent to “Sydney Opera House.”

Sydney is the main city in the “down under” world of Australia.

These are the cutest little things! It was such a blessing to see the winged wonders in person. Of course, I relished the koalas, wallabies and kangaroos too. God is amazing in all His creation, which no man can even begin to replicate, though he imagines he can. Man has a brain and mobility; yet, he cannot recreate what he believes absolutely nothing manufactured over limitless years. He cannot remanufacture one human hair to perfection.

The Little Blues scientific genus name, Eudyptula, translates “good little diver;” and who can dispute?

These penguins do not migrate. They are year-round residents of their island and mainland locations in the Southern Hemisphere.

The majority of Little Blue Penguins are found down under, aka Australia. Other places they call home include New Zealand and Chile. A small number of them have been spotted around Tasmania as well.

Their wings, used for swimming, hang down like arms, which adds to their cuteness when they walk about. Penguins do not fly; yet, are considered birds.

Little Blue Penguin swimming

They do swim so they seem more closely related to fish. However, spending a good deal of time on land, out of the water, makes them non-qualifiable.

All species of penguins are disabled to take to the sky. Overall, there are eight bird kinds which do not soar heavenward, including the Kiwi bird of New Zealand. (New Zealand folk refer to themselves as Kiwis after this bird and after the abundant kiwi fruit of New Zealand.) These eight genre are better equipped by God for swimming, walking, running (Ostriches run at 40 miles an hour) and diving.

Bible verses in Psalm 8 explain God crafted man to have dominion over all, including the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, and all which swim the paths of the seas. “Oh LORD God, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth.”

There are 17 species of penguins. Five penguin species reside in Antarctica. Most species love the beach with the heat including species of South Africa. Yes, this is not what most of us normally imagine.

Penguins’ pygmy legs and stocky-build provide them with that distinctive, adorable, waddling walk.

Upper parts of the Little Blues are pale blue to a dark grey-blue, depending upon age, season, etc. The Little Penguin Blue, “has slate-blue to black feathers and a white chin and chest.” Since this animal owns feathers and a beak, it must be classified as a bird, combining with the reasoning earlier stated.

Shiny feathers uniformly overlap to cover a penguin’s skin. Penguins have more feathers than most other birds, with about “100 feathers per square inch.” Penguin plumage is highly specialized—short, broad, and closely spaced, preventing water penetration … protecting the skin from hydrous elements. Tufts of down on the feather shafts or quills, increase the insulative properties of the feathers. God knows just how to design, allowing this seabird creation to thrive in every way.

In contrast to the other penguin species, Little Blues are nocturnal (night creatures). They usually will not waddle to a wave-reaching beach before dusk, and will depart before the dawn. However, in a reserve, you can observe them all day, though you often notice their eyes are shut. Little Blues are fed during the day, allowing patrons to continually view them.

Little Blues display bluish-gray eyes. Like other birds, penguins possess a nictitating membrane, sometimes called a third eyelid, though it resembles a clear-like mucus on penguins. This covering protects the eye from injury, being wonderfully manufactured by God for land and water. Other birds have three eyelids as well; also cats, dogs, reptiles, fish, and camels.

Penguin diminutive legs are strong, though they do not appear to be so. Their feet are webbed, with visible claws. The legs and feet are straight-backed to aid in streamlined navigation while skimming the seas. This placement also ensures penguins stand vertically and walk upright, which makes them doubly cute.

New Zealnd, Dusky Sound, fjords, cruise ship

 

New Zealand fjords © Val J. Lee

Dusky Sound, New Zealand, where many of the “Little Blue Penguins” breed,

and where my husband I cruised (ship with real grass, first photo). © Val J. Lee

At about three years of age, the Little Blues reach mating age. They will choose one mate for life, being monogamously faithful by Almighty God’s design. Ninety percent of bird kinds are monogamous.

Little Blue Penguins

Lifetime unions commence around June. Complex, maneuvering rituals are performed by the guys in order to get the females to take notice. A gal desires just the right guy since this is a life commitment. One would think, she certainly wants she and her guy, to be the cutest couple around, though every little penguin couple is winsome.

Courtship begins with the Little Blue guys performing courtship displays with calls to attention. A guy who desires to woo will hold his body in an upright position with flippers above his back, neck stretched, and head toward the sky. At which point, he emits a mule-like sound. Yes, it all sounds rather primitive.

On occasion, the single guy will perform in front of a nest he constructed. Apparently, to give a hint of his intentions of being a family man.

When a match is made in Aussie-land or Kiwi-land, the newly tied ones, present a display together. One will stand upright and spread its flippers with head bowed, which signals the other Little Blue to follow. At which point, they walk in small circles around the nest, braying as they go. After this public commitment performance, the couple honeymoon.

Nests vary by location with underground burros under thick grass-roots … the preferred way. However, some nests might be located in rock crevices or caves. Community burrows are slightly over six feet apart; being lined with grass, leaves, or seaweed.

In urban areas, nesting may involve man-made cavities—under buildings, stacks of wood, and even railroad tracks. In some areas, Blues may nest in artificial nest boxes supplied by humans, some quite artistic.

After securing the home environment, the petite homemaker will lay two eggs to her delight and the glee of the papa. And is it not interesting, God placed in the heart of birds the knowledge, these offspring belong to papa too and there is no question who the daddy is? In our wicked society, DNA testing must sometimes be implemented to determine, and such kits can be bought at pharmacies.

Both parents take turns incubating the eggs, their shifts can be for ten days or shorter. Mom’s eggs filled with mini Little Blues, must be incubated for a period of five weeks to develop their hatchlings. It is possible for mommies to lay more eggs through August of the same year.

Upon their chicks being hatched, all baby food sustenance is foraged for them by their parents during the day. The doting parents will sleep beside the nest at night.

Youth are made independent by their parents from 57 to 80 days.

Obviously, the Little Blue Penguins do not require a significant amount of fish food due to size. Their compact diet consists of little bitty fish, krill, and squid. They are known to dive in shallow waters, consuming the catches supplied by the LORD. Being quite petite, inshore fishing suits them best, while supplies last; if not, deeper waters will suffice.

The precious Little Blues live mainly in their own colony. The committed couple return to the same nesting area yearly.

On their first anniversary, the Blue male will arrive at the home nesting site and apply his carpentry skills, renovating last year’s nest. If he chooses not to do this, he will select a new homesite, digging, using his bill and feet. He will then stand in front of the readied nest and await his gal. Most likely, quite excited for their renewed, heart-felt commitment, and the new wee ones which will result.

The adorable Blues are highly social with the other penguins in the colony community. Jesus Christ made them gregarious, part of His marvelous design. Penguins needing penguins to fulfill inner needs.

Most penguin species go through one complete molt (shedding their feathers to be replaced with new) each year, usually following the breeding season. This is true of most birds.

During this period, the penguins are land-bound, not having enough adequate feathers to maneuver in water, leaving them food-less. Because God informs them their molting will begin in a few weeks, penguins increase their food intake, building a fat reserve to sustain them while they are denied a swim.

Birds are never attractive when they are molting. It is a bad feather-day or a long time.

Little Blues can become tasty-prey to a variety of predators, including—seals, sharks, weasels, snakes, rats and foxes.

Little Blue Penguin

Though penguins might appear silky smooth from afar, these flightless aves own about 10,000 feathers—three to four times the feather density of flyers. The feather bases are thick downy … trapping air, providing water-resistant insulation.

God further crafted the feather-tips to be stiff, preventing them from being compressed by water pressure. And He masterfully provides countershading. Penguins are dark when viewed from above, and light when viewed from below. In a marvelous way, this protects them with swimming camouflage.

Penguins are athletes of the seas, completely rhythmic and acrobatic—diving for long periods of time by God’s masterful design.

“Penguins can switch between two modes of oxygen use in the water—either starving their muscles or giving them an extra shot of oxygen;” thus maintaining oxygen operation when submerged.

The Little Blue Penguin’s standing height is 13 to 15 inches.

The life span for the Little Blues in the wild is about 6 ½ years.

Wild penguins may bite if touched.

Val Lee

(Info facts gratefully gathered from various websites)

******

My video slide show: 

******

Cute Penguin story in video:

******

Letter to bird enthusiast:  letter-to-bird-enthusiast

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: