Slowly, slowly our adult yellow-eyed penguins are coming ashore to moult and looking fat and fab. Now all they have to do is sit around for four weeks and grow feathers - sounds like a great holiday!
We found a starving pre-moult white-flippered penguin recently on our shores and brought it into rehab. This is a 'type' of blue or little penguin but they only live on Banks Peninsula and are on average larger and have distinctive white strips on their flippers. Usually we have to hold the little penguins that we rehab but this one has learnt how to eat out of the hand which is handy because while it is moulting it is better not to handle them. Very cooperative little fella!
This yellow-eyed penguin pair is serenading each other in the forest as part of their pair bond maintenance.
This adult yellow-eyed penguin was so absorbed in the business of preening those gorgeous new feathers on it's chest that it never noticed the photographer! Looking fab!
.... but you are not quite ready to leave. These three yellow-eyed penguin chicks have spent a week in our soft-release pen and are ready to head out so we opened the door but they were in no hurry to leave. The idea is that they can come back if they have trouble finding food because they know that if they come and sit in this pen food will be delivered (or they get put in a bag again and taken back to hospital). We have had chicks self-admit this way. Hopefully these three got the idea of coming back. For now though it looks like they are content to sit in their pen with the door open. (They had left by the next morning - probably joining the exodus of the adults on their way to sea.)
Our Erect crested penguin is a very polite guest and takes his fish calmly from the hand. Such a pleasure!
This pair of yellow-eyed penguin adults is almost finished with the moult - time for a bit of stretching and yoga..... these birds are amazingly flexible - any human willing to try this pose??
It is the season of the weird, wonderful or fabulous hair dos in the yellow-eyed penguin colony: it must be moulting time!
Our Snares Penguin currently recovering in our rehab facility is a gentle and patient soul during feeding. It wasn't always like this: he was quite frantic with hunger and would jump up and down and it was hard to keep up supplying the fish he swallowed them so quickly. He has more manners now that he has put on a bit of weight and is not so desperately hungry anymore.
Whilst the penguins are moulting they don't go to sea and unless it rains on them they don't have access to water. Here a juvenile moulting yellow-eyed penguin wandered down to the beach and water's edge to have a drink on a sunny day.