Penguins, the darlings of the frozen world, have quite a mess on their hands fins.
Scientists track penguin colonies via satellite image, and they count how many birds are in certain groups by measuring the quantity of feces near them. That's right, their poop can be seen from space.
Since the groups of penguins (which are called "rafts" while they in the water and "waddles" while they are on land) often breed in the same place for a long time, their area can get quite dirty -- especially in contrast with the white, snowy ground on which they dwell.
Researchers can stay far away from the mess (and the deadly low temperatures of Antarctica) by surveying the waddles from space.
They like to keep a close eye on the dirty birds just in case conditions suddenly change and the creatures begin dying off.
See more photos of the waddles and rafts:
A Magellanic penguin arrives to shore at El Pedral penguin colony near Punta Ninfas, some 75 Km east of Puerto Madryn in the Patagonian province of Chubut, Argentina on October 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 19, 2015 shows a colony of Brunnich Guillemot seabirds in the Spitbergen province of the Svalbard archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
In a picture taken through a window an African penguin eats a fish at Zoom Torino, a zoological park in Cumiana near Turin, on April 22, 2015. Zoom Torino is a new immersive zoological park, where animals can be seen without bars or cages, only natural barriers ensure the visit. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
A Magellanic penguin is seen at El Pedral penguin colony near Punta Ninfas, some 75 Km east of Puerto Madryn in the Patagonian province of Chubut, Argentina on October 1, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
A couple o Magellan penguins guard their nest on a shore of Caleta Valdes, some 70 Km west of Puerto Piramides in Peninsula Valdes, Patagonian province of Chubut, Argentina on September 29, 2015. The Valdes Peninsula, an important nature reserve, is in the World Heritage list of the UNESCO since 1999. AFP PHOTO / JUAN MABROMATA (Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)
A zookeeper poses for pictures as she counts penguins during a photocall at London Zoo on August 26, 2015, to promote the zoo's annual weigh-in event. With more than 17,000 animals to weigh, the exercise is carried out on a regular basis by zookeepers as a way of keeping track of every animals health and wellbeing. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)