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Photographer captures two widowed penguins comforting each other — this is what love is all about

These images, and the story behind them, teach us that there's more to penguin relationships than wooing their mates with the perfect rock.

Photographer captures two widowed penguins comforting each other — this is what love is all about
Image Source: Tobias Baumgaertner

When it comes to romance, penguins have got everyone else beat in the animal kingdom. In fact, taking into consideration some of the men I've dated, I'd say they could even teach us, humans, a thing or two about the art of amour romantique. While we often associate these famous lovers with their perfect pebble proposals, an Australian photographer chanced upon a sight that teaches us that there's more to penguin relationships than wooing their mates with the perfect rock. The photographer in question, Tobias Baumgaertner, recently shared images of two penguins seemingly sharing a moment of comfort and compassion while looking out at the brightly-lit Melbourne skyline and the story behind their special bond is truly heartwarming.


Posting a photo of the two penguins perched on a rock—with the younger bird resting one of its flippers against the other's back—on Instagram, Baumgaertner wrote: During times like this the truly lucky ones are those that can be with the person/people they love most. I captured this moment about a year ago. These two Fairy penguins poised upon a rock overlooking the Melbourne skyline were standing there for hours, flipper in flipper, watching the sparkling lights of the skyline and ocean.


Baumgaertner then proceeded to explain that this wasn't a rare occurrence and that he'd come to learn their full emotional history. A volunteer approached me and told me that the white one was an elderly lady who had lost her partner and apparently so did the younger male to the left, he revealed. The grief of losing their respective partners seems to have brought the pair together, taking comfort in each other and simply sharing a few moments of companionship against the night sky as they watch the waves crash against the pile of rocks. 


Since then they meet regularly comforting each other and standing together for hours watching the dancing lights of the nearby city, Baumgaertner explained. Although the two penguins meet often to spend time together, the photographer did have to wait quite a bit to capture the perfect shot of their heartwarming camaraderie. I spend 3 full nights with this penguin colony until I was able to get this picture. Between not being able or allowed to use any lights and the tiny penguins continuously moving, rubbing their flippers on each other’s backs and cleaning one another, it was really hard to get a shot, but I got lucky during one beautiful moment. I hope you enjoy this moment as much as I did, he wrote.



The photograph gained immense attention online as the penguins' story tugged at the heartstrings of netizens. Recognizing the internet's interest in the two pals, Baumgaertner shared one more image of the two, writing: Pinguins Part 2. "... Love is the only game in which we win even when we lose." The way that these two lovebirds were caring for one another stood out from the entire colony. While all the other penguins were sleeping or running around, those two seemed to just stand there and enjoy every second they had together, holding each other in their flippers and talking about penguin stuff.


Pain has brought them together (see PART 1). I guess sometimes you find love when you least expect it. It’s a privilege to truly love someone, paradisiacal when they love you back, he added. Netizens poured their hearts out over the two birds and the significance of their bond. I absolutely love this! Reminds me of being at a music festival with my best buddy just taking a breather watching the party happen, commented Instagram user Ryan Biggs. Another user, Chris Chong, wrote: I obviously see a lot of posts on the app, but I don’t remember the last time I was moved so much by one as I am from this. Simply beautiful.

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