Penguin movie inconsistency
July 28, 2006 4:40 AM   Subscribe

Attention penguin mavens. Something about "March of the Penguins" ain't right.

I watched the DVD of March of the Penguins recently. As many of us know, it makes a big point of saying that these birds walk 70 miles to reach their breeding ground, and (after the birds and then the eggs are laid) the females and males take turns returning to the water to feed and to bring back food for the young. We all remember the jokes on late night TV about "traveling 70 miles for nookie".

The main movie makes it appear that all of the various flocks of penguins do the same, and that the distant breeding ground is the destination for all of them.

On the DVD is another smaller documentary called CritterCam, in which the narrator mentions the travel to the breeding grounds and the fact that the birds hunker down there for the winter, often having to travel "two to three kilometers" to return to the water to feed several times during the winter.

The smaller movie directly contradicts the point that the main movie emphasized - the amazing distance that the penguins have to travel. So which one is right? And if the ocean is only a matter of a few kilometers away, why has no one spoken up about the exaggeration.
posted by yclipse to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)

There are variations in distance from open sea to breeding grounds over the course of the film as ice forms and melts seasonally, though this doesn't appear to completely explain the particular discrepancy you describe.
posted by biffa at 5:00 AM on July 28, 2006

There are several emperor penguin colonies. Some are farther from the ocean than others. The breeding ground in March of the Penguins is one of the most distant. The one in the critter cam film is probably one of the closer ones.
posted by Captaintripps at 5:02 AM on July 28, 2006

It does not address the large discrepancy you point out, but I think I remember them mentioning a significant change in distance between the two trips owing to seasonal expansion/melting of the ice sheet.
posted by daveleck at 5:03 AM on July 28, 2006

Like Biffa said...
posted by daveleck at 5:04 AM on July 28, 2006

Captaintripp's explanation makes more sense when you consider that the smaller operation probably didn't have the money/resources to stray too far from the coast, whereas the NGS would.
posted by thebabelfish at 8:29 AM on July 28, 2006

Since some of the penguins have low paying jobs they can't afford the waterfront properties like their more affluent cousins therefore they have to commute.
posted by trinity8-director at 1:37 PM on July 28, 2006 [2 favorites]

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