We are in the middle of hatching season for our yellow-eyed penguins so here is an update of the sponsored penguins and boxes for all you lovely people who have adopted them (the photo is of no one in particular and it's from last season - our chicks currently are way too small still!)
Ciara: 2 fertile eggs
Bri: 2 chicks hatched, but one has died
Stitches: 1 chick, 1 egg to hatch (fertile)
Danni: 2 chicks
Poppy: 1 chick, other egg unlikely to hatch
Vivek: 2 fertile eggs
Lesley: 1 chick, 1 egg to hatch (fertile)
Anna, Stewie Junior (Uncle Chang): 2 chicks
Chicky (Flipper Palace): 2 chicks
Jackson: 2 chicks
Drobne Kuca box: 2 chicks
Bequette: 2 fertile eggs
Morgan: 2 chicks
Janet: 2 fertile eggs
Thor: 2 fertile eggs
Norwegian Cabin: 2 fertile eggs
Penny Box 4: 2 fertile eggs
Shannon (Spitfire Rise): 2 fertile eggs
Odd Simen: 2 chicks
TeamKokoMelo box: 2 fertile eggs
Hopefully I haven't forgotten anyone.... more updates coming up, it's changing daily. Unfortunately we have had our first Diphtheria cases but we are onto it.
.... and no, they don't pop out of the egg this size! They are so tiny and fragile and their parents are so protective of them that it is near impossible to get a decent photo of a freshly hatched chick. So here is a photo of a chick fast-forward to 4 weeks old. Our first arrival were Stewie Junior's chicks: he is with the female who always lays early so they were first with eggs and now are first with chicks. A couple other pairs had the eggs pipping yesterday - they will be parents today! The next generation is on the way! Fingers and toes crossed......
Not much is happening in our colonies right now. Everyone is happily sitting on their eggs - real or not. It's like the calm before storm. Once the chicks start hatching - very soon - the parents will be so much busier and that is when things are difficult for us: it's Diphtheria time. Fingers crossed it's not going to be a bad year. We will see.
This adult male was here in the same spot last year and built a nest just beside a path - just like last year. We thought we give him something to worry about and popped a dummy egg in his nest when he was away fishing. He never went back - last year and again this year. This egg-thing was just not doing it for him. He is however running round after a pretty juvenile (let's hope it is a female) - so maybe he is hoping she will pick him for her first mate. Penguin politics: very intriguing.
This is a popular box for both breeding and chicks but it looks like this boy has lost his mate. He has neighbours and to keep their eggs and chicks safe, we are occupying him with his very own egg. Looks like he is getting the summer off from feeding chicks - we are sure he would rather raise a family but that's not going to happen without a mate! Next year again maybe!
Yellow-eyed penguins lay 2 eggs about 3 days apart but the chicks on the same day generally because the parents don't incubate the first egg properly until the second one has arrived. They sit on them in a half-crouch to guard them. Once they have the second egg, incubation can start in earnest and way they go. The chicks hatch on the same day and are therefore the same size and one does not outcompete the other because it is a few days earlier out of the egg.
He is an old favourite and has a fabulous new (old) nest site: a cave in the side of the hill. They used it a few years ago and when it rained water dribbled onto them while they were on the nest. So we build a special roof for the pair and they managed to raise their chicks ok. They moved into the forest for a couple of years and now they are back in their penguin cave and here he is sitting happily on his two brand-new eggs! Good on you Odd Simen - great choice!
For some reason we worry about some birds more than others, and it is usually our young females we worry about the most, those that bred for the first time and maybe we haven't seen for a while or we not able to identify through the moult. Thor (yes, she is a mighty girl) is one of those. She was only two, had one chick (we helped in the end) but we were not positive that we had seen her through the moult. Her mate was older and very, very sick with Malaria and he spent a lot of time in rehab but survived and was released. Unfortunately we have not seen him since but Thor has not been idle and picked up another male and they now have two eggs. We were so very, very relieved that she is back and looking fab.
We have a new sponsor who has been patiently waiting for news about their chosen nest box - as have others who have previously sponsored nest boxes. Thank you all for your kindness and support for the penguins. Here is a list of previously sponsored nest boxes in use this season:
Uncle Chang's box
We have no say in which box the penguins will set up home so we cannot guarantee that a sponsored box will be used. If a penguin is in a sponsored box and I manage to get a photo, I will post it here on FB.
Thank you all!
She is Jackson's sister and has run off with the neighbour. He has been a bachelor for a long time and finally gets to raise chicks. Bequette and her mate did not overlap during their moult. She moulted with her new mate and when her old mate finally arrived to moult he was very sick and had to spend most of his moult in rehab. He survived and is busy incubating a dummy egg. This will prevent him from egg-envy and trying to take over the nest and the eggs of his old mate.