Not only are penguins adorable and funny, but it turns out that they’re pretty good parents. They set some great examples in more ways than one – five, in fact – and humans would do well to hop on the trend of penguin parenting!*
*This is not a trend. But it should be.
#5. They soothe the baby.
The chicks are always hungry (as anyone with a human infant can tell you, this is definitely the same!) and sometimes the parent who is sitting with the baby runs out of food before the other parent returns. But even though that can mean hours or days of listening to the little one cry for food, they remain tender:
“They often appear to calm down the little caller by touching them with their beak and tucking them gently under the brood flap again,” says ecologist Barbara Weineke.
#4. They never give up.
Life is hard for these penguins, but they never give up no matter what the conditions. Says seabird ecologist Dr. Barbara Weineke, “They could just give up, but they keep coming back to feed their chick. I have seen adults return to the colony with ghastly wounds (probably inflicted by leopard seals), yet they drag themselves back home to feed the chick.”
#3. They listen to their kid – and their spouse.
There are thousands of birds in a single colony, and by the time a parent returns from a food run, everyone is chirping for food. That’s why birds can recognize the specific call of their chick (and their spouse) among myriad others.
#2. They keep their babies close.
There is only one breeding season every year, and each pair of penguins only has one chick. They have to make sure it’s fed, warm, and that parent-less penguins don’t steal it – so they keep them tucked safely close while they are young and vulnerable.
#1. They put family first.
Ecologist Barbara Weineke told Fatherly that there’s an easy way to tell parents from non-parents in a group of penguins:
“There are always some birds that do not have any family responsibilities. These birds are often curious and come over to see what these weird looking creatures are all about…In comparison, penguins with chicks are not easily sidetracked or deterred. They often don’t even give us as much as a glance. They go straight back to their chick.”
I hope you were taking notes!