This is a wee yellow-eyed penguin chick from this past summer and her parents (her mum is also sponsored and is called Samantha) got her away at a very good weight of 5.8kg or so. She tried to learn to feed herself but it was not working out so well. So she came back and sat around in the colony looking skinny. Needless to say we picked her up and gave her lots of food for a couple of weeks. Here she is a couple of days after we opened the gate to let her go but it looked like she didn't wanted to go just yet (maybe our room service was just too good?). We brought her some food and checked again a couple of days later. We found her wandering around in the forest and she looked wet (it hadn't rained) so we surmised that she had given it another go. We popped her on the scales and she was just a little on the light side: under 5kg, so she came back to rehab. She is delightful and so easy to feed and it won't be long before she will get to have another go. We will do this until she succeeds - she is a clever girl to come back!
It is the week to catch up with sponsored penguins! This is a young yellow-eyed penguin male who was sponsored by a kind soul. He managed to raise his chick almost to the end but we had to help it along a little. However, Stewie Junior is now back to moult and waiting patiently for his mate (first photo). She showed up about a week later (second photo) where he is now lost a lot of his feathers but she is only just starting to drop them. In the final photo (see next post - the photo fell off this post....) it is him on the left, a little skinny but with a beautiful new coat and she is in the scruffy looking phase. He will not wait for her but go to sea and feed and return in the evening to sit with her until she is also finished. They have done well and we hope they will be back next year to make more eggs!!
We have found a juvenile yellow-eyed penguin that is very special to someone who has sponsored him. This is Vivek on the right all fluffed up for the moult - and in hospital again! He had been in for a little TLC back in May 2016 when we found him with a nick in his foot and he stayed a while and then we let him go. We had not recorded him again but hoped for the best. Now he has come back and tried to moult - not quite fat enough so he is back in rehab for a little top up. He won't need much - and he certainly has not forgotten how to feed politely!
Most yellow-eyed penguin pairs will moult together - here is a pair that successfully raised their chick and are now starting the moult: the male on the right has been there for about a week while the female on the left is home for her first day of the moult. She still looks smooth while his feathers have ruffled up and have that woolly look as they slowly loosed as the new feathers push through the skin. It's now 3 weeks sitting here waiting it out. Lots of sleeping, a bit of preening and smooching - not bad for an annual holiday!
... and sometimes they seemed to be particularly annoyed that the human wants to take a photo.....giving me the evil eye for documenting the not so dignified just-crawled-out-of-bed-after-a-long-night look.
One of our more recently sponsored nest boxes has been discovered: two moulting yellow-eyed penguins are hanging about, one about finished moulting and the other one just starting and looking a little grubby! This may be a new pairing in a new box in the making. Now that some have finished with the moult the serious business of courting can begin in earnest. Watch this space!!
In yellow-eyed penguins there seems to be a paradigm: who moults together stays together. Here is a breeding pair about half way through the moult. They are at the same stage so their timing is excellent and they found each other: by the puddle of feathers around them they don't move about much but patiently sit with each other for the four weeks while the new feathers grow. Now that is pair bonding dedication!
What a difference a week makes: here is the same yellow-eyed penguin juvenile from our post from 3 March just one week later: all the old feathers have fallen off and he has a brand new set now. He is not quite done though as he still needs to spend a few days oiling them and then he is ready to head back out to sea. He must be hungry by now and ready for his first meal in 4 weeks! Well done your first moult, wee boy, well done!
These are two of our last yellow-eyed chicks that have finally been released after a stint in rehab after they were picked up underweight in January. They are very fortunate: Penny has sponsored their house and when they needed a helping hand she stepped up and sponsored their stay at rehab as well. Now they have spent a week in the soft-release pens to get used to the place and the locals and their gates have been opened and off they went into the great blue yonder. Good luck Pippa and Pia! Hope to see you again soon. And thank you Penny!