The annual moult might make them a little unsightly and it may even be itchy, but when the penguins are done they are stunning like this beautiful yellow-eyed penguin checking out a visitor. Notice how bright yellow the band and slaty blue the back is. Just gorgeous.
The moult is not making the penguins looking their best - moth-eaten comes to mind. These yellow-eyed penguins don't seem to mind. Maybe it is their idea of a perfect 4-week holiday: doing nothing, standing round, waddle over to the next penguin and sit around a bit more. On a hot day there may be a slow waddle down to the water's edge for a wee drink and slow waddle back up the hill. Really, there is not much to do at all!! Wouldn't that be nice? Moulting holiday anyone?
This is a wee video clip from mid February that makes us laugh every time: a yellow-eyed penguin chick dancing! The adults of course are way too serious to take any notice, but it is the joie de vivre in that chick that is so delightful. And in the race to get up the hill it is the chick that is first through the gate and does a little victory dance! Not sure the adults care all that much!
Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter!
The breeding season of the Yellow-eyed penguin is over and it is moulting time. Here is a pair of beautifully fat adults just starting their 4 week fast while growing new feathers. Pairs will do this together and it is an important pair bonding time. Generally speaking who moults together stays together for another season!
Penguins are sociable creatures and despite the label of being 'antisocial' or 'the least social of all penguins' Yellow-eyed penguins show us time and again that they rather have company than being alone - any company.
So, does this penguin have a pet sheep? Or does the sheep have a pet penguin?
Regardless they are both happy having someone to be with.
There were 12 penguins in the forest clearing. The small white dot at the right is a gull and there is also a wooden box in the clearing that the penguins like to stand on at times. So most people were spot on saw the penguin hiding behind another penguin and one behind the tree! Well done!
Here is a short performance of a Yellow-eyed penguin chick practicing flapping. As you can see it it arrives in front of the camera, has a good look around, does its flapping and then takes a bow! Priceless!
Yellow-eyed penguins are often described as anti-social or 'the least social of all penguins' and being solitary nesters. But are they? While they have to nest out of sight of each other they need some cover for their nest (a nest box will so, or some vegetation). But when they are not nesting, they choose to be with each other rather than being alone. They also hang out in the open - thus choose open air over canopy given the option. So, does this penguin need a tree?
This photo shows a group of penguins hanging out in the penguin colony in the evening choosing to sit in a clearing - sky overhead - and in a group. How many penguins can you count? We will post the correct number in a couple of days.
In early February he was found with a wound on his hip and had a stint in rehab. That's when our kind sponsors stepped in and paid for his convalescence. He was healed and ready to moult (an impressive 8.1kg) so he was parked back near his home in the colony and we kept an eye on him.
Almost 3 weeks later he was discovered hanging out with Mrs 80 (so named after her box number) who was also moulting but Wotan was not looking so good, a bit too thin for his stage of the moult (it is likely that his injuries cost him more energy during the moult, so he lost more weight than he would have otherwise). So he was collected up again and had a little top up for 5 days to get him over the last bit of moulting.
The photo shows him in all his post-moult glory, weighing 5.9kg, ready to seriously chase Mrs 80 again and pry her away from Mr 80 - and then make her the new Mrs Wotan!! Let there be a happy ending with eggs in September!
They are all grown up and have left the colonies. They got away at good weights. When we give them transponders at 70 days they were also weighed (average was 5.2kg). We weighed most of them again at 100 days (to check in on them to see how they were doing) and their average weight was 5.9kg which is fantastic.
Some chicks had to come into our rehab for one reason or another and when it is time for them to go they are left in a pen in the penguin colony for a week where they are fed daily. This way they get to know the locals. Here is a short spy-video of a chick that was ready to go when we opened the gate! Byebye and good luck, buddy!!