29 August 2011

bestiary: atlantic puffin

people seem to liken puffins to parrots because of their colours but their appearance seems more akin to penguins to me. their habits are quite penguin like as well, if you ask me. technically though, they're in the auk family. the key divergence from penguins is that they are amazing fliers and can reach speeds of nearly 90 kilometers per hour. 400 flaps per minute. you try that. they're also amazing swimmers and actually use their wings to power their motion and use their webbed feet as rudders for steering. they can dive down about sixty metres. i really didn't know that they spend quite a lot of time at sea - usually for an entire winter. like emporor penguins (i believe), atlantic puffins select a mate and return to one another every mating season. both the male and female incubate a single egg, per season...so the women don't have to lay the egg AND go foraging for food. and seemingly related, yet unrelated, puffin books is an imprint of penguin books. fratercula arctica in moleskine.

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