Isla Magdalena

Penguins!! An entire colony of Magellanic Penguins! It was amazing! (Despite the cold, blistering wind and light rain.)

We took a two hour ferry along the Magellan Strait to Magdalena Island. The island has one of the largest penguin colonies in Chile, with an estimated 60,000 Magellanic penguins (Sphenicus Magallanicus), which constitutes more than 95 percent of the bird biomass. Once you arrive, you get one hour to walk around the trail that circles a section of the island.

These Magellanic penguins are actually considered threatened species. Many die from oil pollution and commercial fishing. This island was declared a protected wildlife area in August 1966 and reclassified National Park Natural Monument in 1982. It aims to protect the island, composed mainly of penguins, cormorants, gulls, and other species. The penguins have migrated here for the long hours of daylight. They seem to have gotten pretty used to tourists and will frequently walk in front of you going about their day. You aren’t allowed to touch them or get in their way, and you are supposed to just let them pass.

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