Shot by Southold photographer Randee Daddona, the video begins with a curious penguin pecking at the camera.
“They don’t have fingers to feel it so they touch things with their beak,” Long Island Aquarium curator and co-founder Joe Yaiullo says. “Everbody thinks the cold weather is great for these guys, but these are South African penguins. They can handle a whole range of temperatures.”
Interesting fact: the birds have 70 waterproof feathers per inch of their body to help them stay warm. But Yaiullo added that when the mercury drops to 20 degrees below zero, the winged waddlers generally prefer to stay inside.
Yaiullo showed off the aquarium’s diesel-powered generator which will keep the tank filters and temperature controls running during a power outage. That’s important because some of the tropical species need the water to be in the 75 to 80 degree range.
He noted that in the past the animal care staff has stayed at the adjacent Hyatt East End.
“They need their food so we need prepared to have a plan in place when the weather does go bad,” he said. “Come morning time, they want their breakfast.”