Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Feeding the penguins that chased the butterfly

On a father-daughter outing in August, Marty McGuire knew he was watching a extraordinary moment inside the penguin exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo.


"My daughter Hanna said, 'Daddy, they're chasing a butterfly.' I was scrambling to get the camera out and turn it onto video mode," McGuire told iReport Wednesday. "Instantly I knew it was going to make at least a couple of people smile, even if I just put it on Facebook for my family."


Within days, McGuire's "Humboldt penguins chasing a butterfly" video went viral, appearing first on his YouTube channel and favorite blog,, then Yahoo, CNN and other sites. The zoo also put it on its Facebook page. From all the sites that hosted the video, McGuire counted more than 1.6 million views.


"We had a lot of people sending us emails just saying how cool it was," Jeff Paolini, the zoo's online marketing and communications manager, told iReport. "Penguins are probably one of our most popular animals, and for people to see that, they really enjoyed it."


The zoo was so grateful for the publicity that it had the McGuire family back on Labor Day to meet and feed the stars of the video.


Which, of course, McGuire documented.


"It's not a great video, but it's fun nonetheless," McGuire said.


McGuire's video has gotten has inspired the zoo to hold a video contest in search of more like it. The top prize will be a behind-the-scenes tour like the one the McGuire family received.

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