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Penguin Sweaters

Penguin Sweaters

Oil spills can have a devastating effect on marine life. After an oil spill, one of the most important jobs of rescuers is to fish out oil soaked birds and animals, clean them and rehabilitate them before releasing them into the wild again. Recently, after an oil spill in the Australian waters, environmentalists claimed that the oil slicks were threatening the existence of the little blue penguins in the south of Australia. These tiny, blue-backed penguins are barely 41 centimetres in height – half the height of the world’s biggest, and famous Emperor penguins of Antarctica....

Who Invented The Pen?

Who Invented The Pen?

The history of writing instruments with which humans have recorded and conveyed thoughts, feelings and grocery lists, is the history of civilisation itself. This is how we know about our ancestors and their lives. The handy sharpened-stone, used for skinning and killing animals was adapted into the first writing instrument. Around 24,000 BC, the cave man started drawing pictures with the stone onto the walls of his cave dwelling. His drawings showed events in daily life such as the planting of crops or hunting victories....

The Exotic Peacock

The Exotic Peacock

Come monsoons, and we immediately think about the beautiful peacock, dancing in the rain, with its luscious tail spread out behind it. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful birds in the world and a native of the Indian sub-continent, it is not surprising that the Peacock was anointed as the national bird of India in 1963. The Exotic Peacock [Illustrations by Neelima Bhushan] Hailing from the pheasant family, these exotic birds are cherished for their colourful plumes and eggs....

How do Ducks Stay in Water and not Get Wet?

How do Ducks Stay in Water and not Get Wet?

When you get out of the swimming pool or bathtub, you are soaking wet. Had you been a duck, you would be swimming in water and yet not look really wet. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. The secret lies in the layer of smooth feathers, which keeps the water out and also helps the duck float. Moreover, these smart ducks make a kind of oil, which they spread on their feathers with their beaks. And since oil and water do not mix, the water just rolls off their bodies....

Birds Which Eat Their Feathers

Birds Which Eat Their Feathers

We all know that birds use their feathers to line their nests. But have you ever heard of a bird eating its own feathers? It is a bird which lives in water and is called the great crested grebe. It eats its own feathers and feeds them to her young ones too. And, it always prefers soft feathers, which it sheds throughout the year. Scientists believe that its feather-eating habit is linked to the process with which it throws waste....

Borrowed Feathers Help

Borrowed Feathers Help

Haka and Phaka, the twin jackals were feeding on some juicy berries. They sat eating their berries with their mouths and paws quite blue with the juice. They were enjoying themselves thoroughly when they saw Mor, the peacock, strutting down the path hurriedly. The poor bird looked terrified! “Hey, what’s up Mor bhai? What’s the hurry?” Haka asked. Borrowed Feathers Help [(Story and illustrations first published in WWF India Quarterly Apr-Jun 1995)] “We peacocks are in great trouble Haka....

Operation Rescue of Penguins

Operation Rescue of Penguins

July 8: Last week, the South African government was engaged in a very important task – transporting 19,000 penguins from their home in Dassen Island near Cape Town, to safe waters. It was an emergency. Operation Rescue of Penguins [Illustration by Kusum Chamoli] The short legged, big bodied birds with pointed beaks did not have the “cute” look that we always see in them. Most of them were covered in slimy oil....

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