Meet Turbo the Penguin

By Midge Raymond,

  Filed under: Argentina, My Last Continent, Penguins

One of the great joys of volunteering with the Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels to help count Magellanic penguins was meeting Turbo.


He’s a unique bird in so many ways, and beloved even by those who have never met him. He got his name the year he decided to nest under a Ford Turbo instead of in a burrow or under a bush like most of his species. And while most penguins will scurry away at the sight of humans, Turbo would walk right up to you, and he even liked being patted on the head (which made the neighbor cats a little jealous).

midge turbo


Each year, I eagerly await news from the penguin program about what’s new the colony, but especially for news of Turbo. There’s a lot going on with the Magellanic colony where he lives — the colony is in decline due to such factors as oil pollution, overfishing, and climate change — but hearing news of Turbo each season gives me hope that these magnificent birds will make it in the end.


Researchers believe that Turbo is now about 11 years old. This season, he found himself a wonderful nest in a big molle bush, and we’re all hoping this will help him find a mate. (Yes, he’s still single after all these years.)

Visit the Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels to sign up for news and updates, and you can also keep up with Turbo via Facebook.


  Comments: 2

  1. Nora, I did get to meet Turbo — it was extraordinary indeed! He’s the cutest thing you can imagine. He does not get fed by the researchers or anything…he just loves people, for some reason. I hope there’s a next time…I’d love to see him again!!
    Thanks for reading. 🙂

  2. Midge, you really got to MEET Turbo??? How extraordinary is that? Say ‘hi’ for me next time, ok? All the best.