Penguin on a plane!

March 15, 2011 • 9:00 am

I haven’t talked about my penguin fetish, which began in 1964 when I wrote a term paper on penguins for my junior-high biology class.  I still have the paper:

And I’m still enamored with Antarctic flightless birds. Here’s the top of my hard drive:

So I was very jealous to see a video taken on a March 12 Southwest Airlines flight, showing a penguin that had been deliberately released in the aisle to get some exercise.  The flight was taking the penguin from San Francisco to San Diego to appear at a convention (he’s already wearing his tux).  Notice how the features of the penguin are described on the intercom.  This is why I love Southwest.  Would I had been on that flight!

41 thoughts on “Penguin on a plane!

  1. So cute. That one looks like an African penguin — Spheniscus demersus.

    My parents collect penguiny things. It made holiday shopping easy for a while. Just find a unique penguin somewhere and you’re done.

    But then the pressure became intense to not repeat oneself.

    They probably have a couple hundred penguin collectibles.

  2. “I have had it with these mother effin penguins on this mother effin plane!”

    I have no idea why, but my family always bought me tons of penguin stuff. I never particularly like penguins, I mean they’re cool like a lot of other animals. Just thought it was weird everyone else decided I like these things.

    1. In America, a biscuit is a breadstuff which often contains meat or egg… so the implication I got was rather unfortunate…

  3. What I find particularly fascinating is how they can be so comically awkward on land like that and yet such amazingly graceful and powerful swimmers underwater.


    1. Beyond graceful! One of my biggest thrills was diving with penquins in the Galapagos. They’re like torpedos buzzing by so fast you almost don’t see them pass by you. Their power has to be seen to be believed.

  4. History (at least the youtube version by David O’Doherty) tells us that it was the humble penguin behind the irresistible force that pulled Ernest Shackleton to the Antarctic three times.

  5. Southwest is still a real airline. You know, one that provides normal airline services–for customers–instead of greedily sucking every penny from each and every passenger. When I was flying regularily…oh, never mind, that’s ancient history.

  6. Penguins. I live in the town of Penguin, Tasmania. There are several colonies of the Little Penguin, Eudyptula minor, known locally as the Fairy Penguin along this stretch of coast. This is a beautiful part of the planet. (Having lived most of my 62 years here, I am, of course, biased)

      1. The more recent photos are better; better equipment and better skills!

        I’ve seen penguins shoot out of the ocean like missiles. I’ll try and post an image that shows a penguin just breaching the surface with the flow of water around its body.

        Those dinasaurs get everywhere!

  7. My whole life, I’ve most envied people who knew what work they wanted to do when they were kids, like Dr. Coyne, who apparently knew quite early that he was interested in biology. Or is just my assumption about your interest?

  8. Jerry,

    you have to come visit us in NZ, and I will take you to Jackson’s Bay on the South Island and show you Hector’s dolphin and penguins playing in the surf.

    I kid you not; saw this for myself the fist time I visited there.

  9. Oddly enough, I was taught middle school biology by penguins. Penguins with odd beliefs about what happens after biology, but penguins who accepted evolution.

  10. And I was just *in* San Diego! Missed that flight by *that* much… dang! The video, though, was a very big hit with the kids–they’ve also insisted that I turn on the computer and show it to their friends:-) The smiles are really good to see.

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