Sea World San Diego has about 300 penguins and now you can step inside the exhibit for a first hand look. The Penguin Encounter Cam gives you live, streaming access to precious penguin moments from the hop-hop-hopping of Macaronis, to photo-bombing Adelies.
It's more than just reality-penguin-TV. The live stream, which will be running through the end of April, is being hosted by the Discovery channel to get viewers in the mood for the upcoming premier of Frozen Planet on March 18. As nature documentary fans may be aware, the series, originally hosted by the indomitable Sir David Attenborough (and narrated by Alec Baldwin in the American version)*, was created by the folks responsible for Planet Earth. It includes footage of penguin thievery, surfing, and cooling in muddy streams.
The exhibit includes representatives from all five Antarctic species:
Emperor penguins- the largest of all living penguins at about 3 feet, 9 inches, they have yellow "tear drop" patches around the eyes. To survive the harsh Antarctic clime, they move in massive, synchronized huddles.
King penguins- the majestic King has sunny, orange patches around the neck to breast, which fades into white. Males have UV patches on their beaks, which may help catch a mate's eye.
Adelie penguins- the charismatic Adelie is easy to spot, with a ring of white around each eye. They build stone nests to keep their eggs warm and dry.
Gentoo penguins- A bright red-orange beak helps the Gentoo stand out in a crowd. These 2 foot wonders may be the fastest swimmers in the bird world, clocking about 22 miles per hour.
Macaroni penguins- Named after the hairstyle of an 18th century dandy, the Macaroni's bright golden eyebrow plumes make them hard to miss. (For those who wondered, the "macaroni" in Yankee Doodle is also a reference to the tall dandy wigs of the day.)
*correction made March 5, 2012