Happy Feet? Emperor Penguins Are More Than Willing to Relocate

A new study challenges the long-held notion that emperor penguins return to the same location each year for breeding. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, using satellite images, said they found six instances in just three years in which emperor penguins did not return to the same nesting location. They also said a newly discovered colony on the Antarctic Peninsula could be an example of penguins moving to another place. "If we assume that these birds come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn't make any sense," said University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering researcher Michelle LaRue, the study's lead author. "These birds didn't just appear out of thin air—they had to have come from somewhere else." LaRue shared her findings at the IDEACITY conference in Toronto on Friday. The study will also be published in an upcoming issue of Ecography.

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— James Eng, NBC News