In our Yellow-eyed penguin colony two weeks ago the Party chicks were still all down and fluffy looking (see post from 15 Jan). Now they are half "real-penguin" looking with fetching accessories on their hips and flippers. After they loose all their chick feathers they still stick round for another couple of weeks or so, oiling up and getting fattened up by their parents. Then it is time to go: ETD for these guys is 21 Feb aged 106 days old.
Penguin chicks are cute at any stage but when they are almost adult size but still all brown and downy, they look like soft toys and it is hard to imagine how they can transform into the timeless elegance of adults. It is the same with all penguins and so these are our last cute-and-fluffy photos of our Yellow-eyed penguin chicks for the season as they have started their transformation into looking like real penguins. Enjoy!
This weekend we gave transponders to the last of our Yellow-eyed penguin chicks aged about 70 days. We had to bring a total of 12 chicks into our rehab facility because they were not quite fat enough and this is one of them that is doing very well. It is easily eating from the hand now and we are just waiting for it to reach 6kg and 108 days old and it can be released. Having these penguins in care relatively early means that we can release them very close to their natural fledging age.
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Our Yellow-eyed penguin chicks are growing up fast and getting their real penguin feathers. Here is a chick on the left at 60 days with the new tail and flipper feathers clearly coming through. On the right it is 65 days old and its belly is all white. It is also wearing a fetching fur collar!
Why sleep alone when you can sleep with the neighbour kids: Sleep-over in the penguin colony.
Yellow-eyed penguins are said to be the least colonial and least social of all penguins but maybe it is because they are so rare. We have quite a high density of nests in our colony and so the chicks grow up near each other. When all the parents are gone for the day they quite like to go next-door and hang with the kids there: typical for other species, not seen that often in this one! Very cute!
Remember the little run-around Yellow-eyed penguin chick that we featured on 28 December? Here it is with his sibling at 70 days old: all grown up and pretty good weight. They have wandered about 30m away from their nest and are sitting all day and night on the main path where all the adults come in from the sea waiting for the parents to return making sure they don't sneak home without handing over food! So they are still partying and running round! Some things just stay the same!
Our oldest Yellow-eyed penguin chicks are now being fitted with transponders and these two were the oldest of them all. They have featured here on FB with their parents a few times: 11 August with both adults at their nest site, 18 September when the first eggs were laid; 5 November when they were the first chicks needing treatment for Diphtheria; 11 November they were alive and well. Now they are in the news again as the first chicks to be transpondered and the first chicks that needed to come into hospital: they only weighed 4.5kg and 4.8kg at 74 days when they should weigh 5.2kg. Something is not right so they both are now on a diet of salmon and are doing very well.
Since then we have caught, weighed and transpondered another 12 chicks that were 70 days old and they weighed on average 5.4kg (range 5kg - 5.8kg) - so these first two appear to be the exception - lets hope so. We have since seen both parents so it was not a loss of a parent that made them underweight and that is good news.
This is an update on a Yellow-eyed penguin chick that we talked about here on FB on 4 December when it was sick and had to be treated a long time for Diphtheria. On the advice of a vet we discontinued the medication after 18 days or so and kept a close eye on it. Here it is now aged 65 days old and looking great. It is likely to be a little bit behind in development and may need a little TLC later in our rehab facility but we won't find out until it is weighed at 70 days for its transponder fit. So far so good.
Two fluffy Yellow-eyed penguin chicks hanging about in the forest waiting for their parents to return home. They are about 2 months old now and the tips of their flippers have new feathers and their bum feathers are also poking out. They have reached adult size and almost adult weight and now they have to change their 'coat' so they can go fishing. 6 weeks to go!
Happy New Year to all our penguin friends! Here is a picture to warm your heart - Yellow-eyed penguin family with beautiful fat and healthy chicks. That's what we like to see loads more in 2016 and onward.
Thank you all for your interest and love for these precious birds. May 2016 bring you lots of penguin joy!