The fashion runways of New York, Milan, Paris and London are all featuring feathers as one of the season’s top trends. Feathers are, of course, always “in” for penguins and are indeed crucial for them staying warm enough underwater while they search for food. Penguin feathers are highly adapted to provide this insulation but, unfortunately, wear down over time and need to be replaced. Penguins get this process done all at once with what’s called a catastrophic molt.
It’s a slow, arduous process that each penguin must go through about once per year and takes weeks to complete. New feathers are manufactured beneath the skin and essentially push the old feathers out as they grow in. Although there tends to be a pattern in which the molt proceeds penguins often sport some pretty unique feather-do’s, many of which are quite amusing.
Adasha (our beige-banded female) is shown below finishing up her molt last week, eschewing the common disheveled look in favor of a very trendy feather shawl:
Almost all of our birds have now gone through their molt for the year. Dyer (blue/white banded male) and Grendel (yellow male) are just starting to swell up and have had their bands removed. Out with the old and in with the new!