Checking our colonies regularly really pays off. We found this special wee girl who managed to fledge naturally in the colony needing a little help. She was sick but is starting to look a lot better with some meds. Finding her in May - weeks after fledging means that she has worked out how to feed. That's probably the most important lesson for a young penguin - and she's done it. Some medicine and food and she'll be right to head out again.
The box that used to be in this spot was a little old and a little fragile and the sheep we had in this area to keep the grass short were itchy and they demolished it relieving the itch - so time for a new box - sponsored by Doreen - and it appears this penguin quite likes it. It had started to build a nest bowl in it that will surely impress the mate. On this day he was guarding it - you never know the neighbour might fancy his fancy new box!
We do at least two rounds in our colonies every week to check for penguins in trouble - and on this day we found one. It's Janet's mate who was hanging out on the beach during the day. If you look closely you see that he is brown in colour rather than blue: he had not moulted yet. We picked him up and he was less than 5kg - when he should have been 7+kg pre-moult or in fact already moulted. We tested his blood and he had Avian Malaria - so it was loads of food as well as medication for him. There is no doubt that he would not have survived without rehab.
We had to bring Ciara into rehab for a wee while during her moult and after her release spotted her with her mate near their nest site hanging out during the day. So they found each other again and appear no worse for wear from the temporary separation.
It's such a pleasure to see three adult yellow-eyed penguins running round on the beach doing their thing after such a hard season when we had to rehabilitated over a hundred penguins. They look good and happy!
We had a total of 11 white-flippered penguins in care at our rehab facility this season: that's a lot. They were really struggling, some didn't make it. They were so exhausted, but most did like this wee fella that was almost done with the moult and weighed 1.95kg (the scale reading includes the bucket!). We took him and his mate down into our penguin colony and put them in a little penguin box to complete their moult and go home to Banks Peninsula when they are ready. Good luck guys - come back if you need a top up!! Little penguins had a really, really tough summer, but things seem to settle and are looking good!