Australian Penguin Theft and Other Weird Bird News
This week, a group of drunk friends allegedly broke into Australia's Sea World and stole a penguin, birds attacked Air Force Two, and a rare species was found 5,000 miles from home.
There's nothing quite like watching penguins of all shapes and sizes on Discovery's Penguin Encounter Cam of Sea World San Diego. For many of us, it's almost as good as being there. But for three friends from Wales, however, live-feed wildlife videos will probably never be enough again.
Intoxicated, three UK men allegedly broke into Australia's Sea World to swim with dolphins on Saturday. They now face criminal charges after waking up the next day with a small penguin chilling in the apartment they were staying at in Queensland, according to Australia’s 7News. In a video probably taken, hung-over, after the discovery, one of the men says, “Can't believe ... penguin in our apartment man ... we stole a penguin,” according to Reuters.
During their Sea World adventure, the group recorded another video in which one of the men yells to his friends—who are swimming, presumably with dolphins—“Yo, look at them…Let’s go get a penguin!”
Dirk, seven years old, had never been out of the enclosure at Sea World before the incident, according to Reuters. While 7News and Reuters report the three men felt remorse after the incident, they released Dirk into a nearby shark-infested estuary. Sharks chased Dirk out of the water and a dog chased him back in again, according to Reuters. But Sea World workers rescued him soon after, safe.
The penguin-nappers face charges of trespassing, theft, and unlawfully keeping a protected animal.
When Birds Attack!
In the course of only a day, three bird-on-plane strikes occurred last week. While Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was flying from Brussels to Paris, the plane carrying the secretary was hit with birds, according to NBC Nightly News. In another incident, Air Force Two—the aircraft carrying Vice President Joe Biden—was grounded after it had a bird strike on the vice president’s way to Santa Barbara. And a Delta Airlines flight lost its right engine in New York’s JFK airport shortly after leaving for Los Angeles. The plane was landed safely shortly after, but three years ago, Sully Sullenberger was forced to make an emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River after flying into a huge flock of birds.
NBC continues to report this problem is avoided by scaring the birds with cannons and dogs, and some jet builders even test planes’ ability to withstand bird attacks by throwing frozen birds into turbines.
- See also: “Clearing the Air,” May/June 2009
How Many Miles from Home?
A rare elaenia flycatcher was seen in suburban Chicago last week. While the Chicago Tribune reports the bird was the white-crowned elaenia, the American Birding Association notes it is extremely difficult to identify the species, which could also be a small-billed elaenia. Even with its shroud of mystery, a post by the ABA sparked a large number of birders to travel to Cook County to see the little guy in person, the Tribune says.