MARCH OF THE PENGUINS AT SF ZOO – ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

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Magellanic penguins at the SF Zoo
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

BY BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2010

The SF Zoo already houses the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in a zoo or aquarium environment, but today three more males chicks were added to the colony. Graduates of the Zoo’s behind the scenes Avian Conservation Center the three chicks took part in the Zoo’s annual “March of the Penguins” to their new home on Penguin Island bringing the total number of birds in the Zoo’s Magellanic colony to 44.

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The start of the march to Penguin Island
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

The annual March of the Penguins has become so popular that this year the length of the march was extended so that people could spread out along the route. One young person came dressed in penguin suit that caught the attention of at least one of the penguins as they walked by him.

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“Check out the one with the yellow beak.”
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

The penguins are 12 weeks old and have been trained at the Avian Conservation Center. 10 other eggs lain by members of the colony have been taken by a Chicago zoo to add to their colony.

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It wasn’t so much a march as a stroll with many distractions.
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010.

Currently the chicks are known by the color of their wing tag, red, black and gray. “Red” is the most social one and animal keeper, Anthony Brown, predicated that the walk would take either 2 minutes or 15 minutes, depending on their reactions.

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Three new chicks make their way to Penguin Island.
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

After walking the length of Penguin Island on the outside walkway where zoo visitors
are allowed the three penguins turned and walked about halfway down the walkway to a gate into the exhibit were a metal walkway was placed over the edge of the pool. The expectation was that the penguins would walk down the walkway and then jump into the water at the end. The penguins however needed a little bit of coaxing to get into the water.

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The splash is “Red” the first penguin to take the plunge as Penguin keeper
Anthony Brown (left) and animal keeper Seth Wong look on
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

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“Black” takes a head first dive.
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

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Magellanic penguins at the SF Zoo
Photo By Bill Wilson © 2010

Indigenous to Argentina and Chile, the Magellanic penguin will eat roughly one pound of fish each day, consisting of herring and capelin. The Zoo’s penguins can be seen at Penguin Island; daily keeper talks and feedings are at 10:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past six years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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