Let's talk penguins.
Even among our flightless, tuxedoed adorables, the Antarctic breeds are a rarity. The world knows 17 varieties wandering the Southern Hemisphere.
But in Antarctica we have, principally, three kinds.
You can spot the gentoo by its orange beak and the white stripe atop its head.
In recent years, the number of gentoos and chinstraps that are more native to warmer climes in the north has skyrocketed. In 1975, there might have been fewer than 100 nesting pairs of chinstrap penguins around the western Antarctic peninsula. Today, there may be 300. Gentoos were practically nonexistent here as recently as 1990. Today estimates put the number of nesting pairs above 1,000 and climbing.
Adelies, meanwhile, are in steep decline. There may have been more than 15,000 nesting pairs along the peninsula and its scores of small islands in 1975. Now there may be fewer than 4,000 pairs.
The Adelies feed in spots where the churning of warmer and cooler water stirs up nutrients and promotes the growth of fish and shrimp-like krill. But to get to those feeding grounds, the Adelies need winter sea ice to launch their hunts.
As that ice has receded, so have the penguin numbers.