All Migrating Penguins
Tracking Migration of Magellanic Penguins
Thanks to the generous funding by Zoo Augsburg in Germany, Ginger Rebstock and Sarah Romero were able to travel to Punta Tombo, Argentina in April 2022. Their goal for this trip was to put satellite-tracking tags on Magellanic penguins for their fall migration. They tagged 7 breeding pairs plus one female and one male whose mates they were not able to catch. The goal of the study was to determine where penguins spend the austral fall and winter, and where they might come into conflict with fishing, shipping, or pollution. Former Center postdoctoral researcher Tasha Gownaris showed that more females than males die at sea during the winter. Learning whether females and males migrate to the same locations can help us understand why, and help inform policies to protect the females.
We have already learned that mates do not leave the colony at the same time and do not stay together at sea during migration. We also learned that not all penguins go north immediately. A few of our tracked birds stayed near Punta Tombo, and a few that started swimming northeast quickly reversed their courses. On the other hand, some penguins swam more than 700 miles from Punta Tombo in only one month. We invite you to explore the interactive maps on this page by clicking on any one of them.