Young emperor penguin chicks stay atop their parents’ feet for warmth and protection. As they grow bigger and stronger, they begin wandering around on the sea ice and meeting other chicks. The adults leave temporarily to feed in the sea, leaving their chicks behind to explore on their own and form social bonds with other chicks. These bonds play an important role in the birds’ ability to survive via group dynamics, such as mass huddles during winter snowstorms.
Antarctica, November 2019