Got to see the Penguin Walk today at the Calgary Zoo. Each day at 11 am, a group of penguins (known as a huddle) parades through the Calgary Zoo, for exercise and mental stimulus. Personally, I think they enjoy the chance to see humans lined up along the route. Who’s watching whom?
This being MLK Day, Tom didn’t work, so we headed over to the zoo to explore by daylight, finally, and to see the penguin parade.
The penguin exhibit houses King penguins, Humboldt penguins, Rockhopper penguins, and Gentoo penguins.
Today, it was the King Penguins who had the opportunity to parade, or wander, seemingly more interested in the little kids who lined the path than in walking in a straight course. King Tut, King Arthur, Nero, King Solomon, and several others took a leisurely stroll from their enclosure, across the bridge over the Elbow River, and back to the enclosure.
Those who were tempted to stray were encouraged back onto the path by zoo volunteers and keepers, who used color-coded paddles as signs for the (apparently brilliant) penguins, who seemed to be able to distinguish between the green Go sign and the red Stop signs carried by the keepers.
What a sight to see eight penguins waddling along the path, flapping their non-flight wings in excitement and to warm themselves.
Several of the penguins vocalized when they first started out, as though cheering one another off at the starting line. But then, order was lost and chaos reigned, as they wandered from side to side or simply stopped and stared, as though amazed at their luck to be footloose and fancy free.
As the penguins walked, a keeper explained that penguins’ knees are permanently bent, which is one of the reasons why they waddle. In the photo above, it almost looks like you can see a bent knee inside the body.
The penguins moved with a bit more alacrity and purpose on the way back, knowing that a snack of herring waited for them inside their outdoor enclosure.