In the past few weeks I’ve received a number of questions about the cover of The Tourist Trail.
Did you take this photo?
Are these really penguins?
And what kind of penguins are they?
Before I answer, let me zoom in a bit:
First of all, yes, these are indeed real penguins.
I took this photo a few years ago, while in Punta Tombo, Argentina, which is home to the world’s largest Magellanic penguin colony.
Magellanic penguins nest along the southern coasts of Patagonia. They return to their colonies every year to raise chicks. There is a pecking order to these burrows. The ones closest to the water are the most prized (just like humans prize oceanfront real estate). Except for penguins it’s because being close to the water means being closer to food. Considering they may swim 100 kilometers to find a meal, beachfront property can make all the difference.
I have to admit that it still seems odd to see penguins standing on dirt instead of icebergs. But most penguins do not live on the ice. Most live along the coasts of Argentina, Chile, South Africa and Australia.
In other words, most penguins live near people. And this is one of the many reasons why they are endangered.