The Magellanic Penguins, a love story

The love is strong in this little penguin family. Two babies and one papa wait for mama to return from fishing

Penguins mate for life. Maybe this isn’t groundbreaking news but take a moment to absorb the extent of that commitment. These little fellas are born, spend about five years getting their bearings on navigating around and then decide to settle down, find a mate and that is it. They have their partner for life.

Punta Tombo Magellanic penguin colony

The life expectancy of the Magellanic Penguins at Punta Tombo, just down the coast from Puerto Madryn is about 25-30 years. This means most penguins will have a 20-25 year relationship with their mate. And it’s a relationship that is all about teamwork. They work to build the nest together, raise and feed the kids together and generally they are just working to STAY together.

Maybe this doesn’t seem like such an extraordinary feat. But think of a penguin’s predators. Sharks, orcas, sea lions and that’s just in the ocean. On land they need to worry about greedy little foxes, grey wolves, sea gulls, and their major predator, humans. These little guys are constantly watching their back, trying to survive.

A penguin waiting patiently for his mate to return

Think about a day in the life of a Magellanic penguin – mama penguin wakes up early one morning and heads to the ocean to catch some fish for her babies. Papa penguin stays back to watch the nest and keep the little angels warm. God forbid, on this particular fishing trip, mama penguin runs into an orca and doesn’t make it back to the nest. Well, most of the time papa penguin is just going to wait.

700,000 penguins have their nest at Punta Tombo

He’ll wait for her even though she’s not coming back. Think about the innate loyalty of this animal, a loyalty that enables a penguin to sit and wait for its love to return, even if it means he’ll wait forever.

It is safe to say, both of us girls took a step back and a moment to admire our new little friends, the Magellanic penguins.

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to all of our favorite people back home.

One thing is for sure in Patagonia - it's windy

The penguins were often too cute to handle

The penguins were totally into Leah

The llamas were cool with sharing space with the penguins

The penguins came out of their nests to say 'Hola'

Leah taking in the awesome view

Gill enjoying the breeze

There were a lot of llamas hanging out around the penguin nests

Leah in a penguin showdown

A lone penguin looking out over the Atlantic

Leah with her new friend

Big hug to all of our friends and family at home. Happy Valentines Day