There was an unusual abundance of small fish off the coast of Argentina's Punta Tombo peninsula. It drew one million Magellanic penguins, which happened before the start of the mating season. Some who saw the video would quip that the earthquake that took place on the northern part of Argentina could be behind this strange happening. Scientists don't have backup data, and the comment was rather insensitive and out of place. Nonetheless, tourists wanting to see this reserve would be amazed at this spectacle. Nothing liked the sight of warm-blooded, flightless birds flocking together for an annual ritual.
Emperor penguins also have their own mating ritual, which would happen in the icy Antarctic landscape. Luc Jacquet documented it in "March of the Penguins", which was produced by National Geographic Society. The crew was crazy to film it, as the temperature went down to -62 °C at one point. Everyone who saw it was amazed, even grateful to those who braved the unforgiving elements. ("March of the Penguins" won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.) Jacquet's camera revealed admirable traits about the emperor penguins, which humans could learn from them. Let's enumerate it one by one:
Emperor penguins practice serial monogamy. The largest penguin species happens to be the most admirable of the lot. They would flock to the icy shelf at the end of the Antarctic summer, where the breeding ground would be a few hundred meters away from the open sea. The male penguins must look for a partner, even peck each other if they must win the affection of a female bird. Jacquet's camera showed that everyone would end up as couples, which could swoon the audience. This would be a beginning, as a perilous journey awaits the penguins. The birds turn into attentive parents after the females hatch the egg. This marked their second month in the breeding ground, where both sexes lost a third of their body weight. The next item would be interesting to anyone.
The male penguins would be millennial dads. The female penguins must go back to the open sea, which would be a hundred meters away from the breeding ground. They must consume enough food for her and the chick (after it would be a turn of their partner to go back to the sea). The egg wouldn't survive the icy cold if it won't be under the thick feather (and warmth) of the parents, so the precarious transfer of the egg from the female to male. Not everyone would be fortunate enough, and the agonizing wail could be heard (while the wind was blowing over them). It was during this time when the Antarctic winter could be brutal, and the male penguins have no choice but to huddle together to keep themselves warm. They haven't eaten for a few months, and only drank water from the chunk of ice they were standing on. If this wasn't admirable enough, then nothing would be better.
The female penguins would do anything for their little chicks. The crew did a spectacular job in covering their long journey to the open sea, which was about a hundred kilometers. The camera showed that emperor penguins found ways to protect themselves from predators. (The penguins must swim in groups, if not fast enough, to avoid the leopard seals. The slower ones wouldn't live to go back to the breeding ground.) Aside from agility, they would be wary of other birds like the Northern petrels. (They could be the vultures from the colder regions.) They weren't helpless ad they appeared to be.
Raising a chick won't be different from child rearing. This could be the best part of the documentary, where both male and female penguins take turns in raising their chick. Don't be surprised if the same couple would end up each other after two or three seasons. After all, serial monogamy couldn't be anything else. The most challenging part would be making sure that the chicks won't stray too far from them, as petrels were patiently waiting from a distance. (And the little ones were no match to the flying petrels.)
It takes a community to raise the chicks. This was the strong message that Jacquet's crew was sending to the viewers. There won't be any room for individuality whenever a chick was involved.