The four newest penguins at the San Francisco Zoo are ready to graduate from fish school and journey across the zoo grounds to join the colony on Penguin Island. The zoo's annual "march of the penguins" will take place Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. Four Magellanic penguin chicks born earlier this year will join the colony of 54 penguins that live on the man-made rock formation across from the lion house. The young penguins, one male and three females, spent several months in the zoo's fish school, learning to swim and feed so they can assimilate successfully with the colony.
Onlookers will line the penguins' route, encouraging the chicks as they make their way to Penguin Island.
The last time the penguin colony was in the news was a few weeks back with a "Brokeback Mountain-ish" story involving a male penguin couple who broke up when one flew the coupe for a female next door.
Gay penguins are often cited as an example of how homosexuality is perfectly natural -- so when an all-male couple is broken up by a lady penguin, feathers fly.
Turns out that Harry, a Magellanic penguin at the San Francisco Zoo, has been sniffing around ladybird Linda, scandalously ending his six-year common-law penguin marriage with Pepper, a male penguin.
Zookeepers had no idea that Harry swung both ways. But humans on both sides of the gay rights debate were quick to work Harry's decision into their talking points.
Of course, politicizing the love life of birds can also swing both ways, with LGBT and anti-gay advocates both weighing in on the debate.
One Christian web site opined that Harry's decision was evidence "nature prefers heterosexual relationships."
But leave the anthropomorphism to the furries, says the zoo's penguin keeper.
"There are people who are trying to draw conclusions from our birds, and I'm not really sure whether that can be done," Harrison Edell told the Los Angeles Times.
Good thing for Pepper that as a penguin he's probably pretty used to being left out in the cold.
As one recent zoo guest put it to the Oakland Tribune: "Is this something that only happens in San Francisco?"
Jackson West figures it must have all started with a W4MM ad on Craigslist.