Saturday, January 9, 2010

Waddle This Way

Magnet # 138:  Miniature Penguin

Material:  Plastic

Purchased By:  Gina

This is Positively Penguins Day, when people celebrate some of the cutest, most unusual birds around.  Penguins are pretty much found only in the Southern Hemisphere, some as far south as Antarctica, and they delight any humans who happen come upon then.  Their appearance makes them seem to be wearing tuxedos, and of course, they are among the few bird species that cannot fly.  They're curious of human, and may even come right up to them to study them, or as close as a few feet.  About 20 species of these birds are known to exist, and they tend to breed monogamously, which is very unusual in the animal kingdom.  One or two eggs are laid, and the parents may either take turns incubating or go to get one another food.  When the eggs hatch, penguin mothers are fiercely protective of their chicks, sometimes even trying to take another chick if they loose their own.  Truly, these are some of the most unusual birds on earth, and they're even more exotic in that we don't see them in everyday life, as we might birds such as cardinals, owls, eagles, and hummingbirds.

For awhile there, penguins were taking over the theaters with the CGI animated films Happy Feet and Surf's Up.  And, of course, there was March of the Penguins, a French documentary about the annual journey of Antarctic emperor penguins from the ocean to their breeding grounds.  The English version was narrated by Morgan Freeman.  It was a big hit, won awards, and even inspired its own parody, Farce of the Penguins.  Watching one of these might be a good way to celebrate this day, but if you're able to see these creatures in person, that's probably even better.  I was able to view some penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium last year.  Their exhibit consisted of two varieties of penguins - the  gentoo and the macaroni.  It was fun watching them groom each other and bring their mates food.  But, at least when I was there, the two kinds of penguins pretty much kept apart from one another, which seemed a little odd.  And, of course, the penguin display at the Georgia Aquarium is now reopened to the public, but I'd best not dwell on that experience again.  So, check out a zoo or aquarium near you and find out if there's a chance to view a penguin yourself.

One of my friends surprised me with two packs of adorable farm and aquarium animal magnets she had come upon and thought I'd like.  And I do - they're completely adorable!  They're from Japan and have incredibly strong magnets embedded in each one.  There's twelve in all, so I'll have to figure out all sorts of ways to work them into posts on here.  And they're so tiny - this little guy measures in at about 3/4 of an inch.  I came up with an unusual way to display such special magnets- they're so small that I was able to line them all up along the side of my refrigerator door, and they don't brush up against the inside when I open it.  Each one is completely 3D, so I took these mug-shot type photos of them to give everyone a better idea of just what they look like.  Thanks, Gina - these are so cute and I know I'll have fun getting them all up here, one by one.

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