One of the benefits of working at a research station in Antarctica was that on some days, Laetitia’s work took her to where there were penguin colonies. On this day her work took her to a locale on the Antarctic Peninsula where there was a breeding colony of Gentoo penguins. Unlike the Emperor penguins whose breeding areas are limited to Antarctica, there are Gentoo colonies on the Falklands, South Georgia, and several other islands in the southern hemisphere. They are one of the taller penguin species – some are 35 inches in height. They have black heads, backs, and wings and white fronts. Their bills and feet are orange and they have a white patch behind each eye. They have a more prominent tail than most penguins. Their nests are circles of stone and usually contain two eggs. Females are very particular about nesting stones and fights often occur over nesting stone ownership. A male Gentoo wishing to win the heart of a female Gentoo might offer her an especially nice stone. Laetitia made the Gentoo penguin the subject of the day’s limerick.
When gentlemen court some are prone
To offer their ladies a stone
Just like the male Gentoo
To females he would woo
To nest in the Antarctic Zone.