Mutual preening or allo-preening is an important courtship behaviour. This pair of yellow-eyed penguins are bonding in front of their nest site through winter and will continue to throughout the breeding season as well: maintenance of pair bond!
It is only the 24th September and egg laying is already finished in one of our yellow-eyed penguin colonies. Some nests have only one egg so the second one will be on the way in the next couple of days - but from the first egg to the last (first) egg was only 10 days! This is a first in our experience over the last 3 decades of working with these penguins and it bodes well for the coming season. Even the female who is always last has laid her first egg - a good 2 weeks earlier than normal. We are expecting some more first eggs in our second colony and then we will know how nest numbers stacks up against last season but ALL females have been accounted for: 100% survival is amazing! We are very excited and hopeful for the future.
Great excitement in our yellow-eyed penguin colony: the first eggs have been laid and it is early. This indicates that the girls are doing really well. Our first 4 eggs were found on 14 September and we found another 9 nests with eggs on 17 September. We also had the opportunity to identify many of the birds in the colony and it looks like most of our penguins have made it through the winter, especially the females. Last year's heartbreak was the loss of so many females but this winter has been good. We are very relieved and hope for a fantastic breeding season!
We have had some fabulous photos and videos from our trail cameras placed strategically in the forest but they don't record any sound. If you have never heard the song of a yellow-eyed penguin you are in luck: we were fortunate to capture a bit of a to-do with these three in the forest including enthusiastic singing and displaying and a bit of slap-thy-neighbour!
The eggs are due this month so there is some mating going on in our yellow-eyed penguins and we are playing at being voyeurs with our trail cameras. This was not such a successful mating - he fell off - but there is hope for this pair as they have raised 3 chicks in the last couple of years - so he has done it right in the past! Keep trying, buddy!!!