We had another chick die today so I wanted to do a quick round up of all you kind sponsors of individuals and the families in your sponsored box to keep you in the loop:
Bequette's chick is alive
Morgan has two chicks
Mandy has one chick
Peter and Sarah's box has a family with 2 chicks
Alina and Silas Gihl box has a family with 2 chicks
Cayden and Alicia box has a family with 2 chicks
Stavert's Comfy Penguin Retreat has a family with 2 chicks
Stitches' 2 chicks are alive
Pengee I has 2 chicks alive
Wotan and Poppy's chick is alive
Stewie Junior in Uncle Chang's box has 2 chicks
Vivek has 1 chicks
And unfortunately Jackson's foster-chick died earlier this week - so sorry.
The chicks are getting older and it is the very youngest ones that we find dead. We will feature pictures of the above boxes and families through the summer and hope it all goes well.
If you are feeling inspired to sponsor an adult, a chick or a box or whatever please go to our website's donation page (or click on the donate button here on FB) and have a look...
It's been a difficult week for the yellow-eyed penguins at our colonies. Last week we discovered that many chicks had the dreaded Diphtheria and we swung into action to treat them with five daily doses of antibiotics. We only lost one chick that was treated and then died anyway. But a number of others died without symptoms and we don't know what was wrong with them. We can't cure death but we are extra vigilant with the remaining chicks. So the stats are looking a little grim: we started with 71 chicks hatched and have 58 remaining. 62% of chicks got sick and were treated that made for 43 chicks that required the treatment. Most are well again now and treatment was stopped.
There was a silver lining in that many chicks were relatively large which made extracting them from their protective parents less hard and dangerous for the chicks. Here is a picture of a couple of chicks that did not require treatment and they are behaving well hiding behind the parent at the back of the nest.
Finally our special yellow-eyed penguin that has featured in our posts a few times has two beautiful chicks. Here she is guarding them carefully as we check on them. Stitches was badly injured a couple of years ago and was stitched up by the wonderful St Kilda vet team in Dunedin (NZ). She is testimony to their dedication and care for our wildlife and here is a real life reward: the next generation is here - and these chicks would not exist without the St Kilda vet team.
Stitches' chick poking its head out from underneath mum next to its sibling bum!
We have had a camera trained on this yellow-eyed penguin nest currently used by Wotan, the Magnificent and his young wife Poppy because they live in a neighbourhood with some single penguins that may cause trouble. So far so good - regarding other penguins. However, we caught this encounter where the penguin on the nest clearly reacts to the black cat walking by. Feral cats are introduced pests in New Zealand and cause many deaths including potentially yellow-eyed penguin chicks. It looks like the parent is onto it here defending the chick.
We were finally able to take a photo of the chick hatched in the box first featured in Jacob Thompson’s Journey just as we heard that he has passed away. We are heart broken that this wee tot did not quite make it in time for Jacob to glimpse it. Our thoughts are with his family and we hope that these pictures will give them a tiny spark of joy.
Being a parent can be very messy. This yellow-eyed penguin male got his share from his chick while looking after it. Not to worry, it will come off with the next trip to sea.
Slowly slowly the chicks are starting to grow big enough to be seen by us comfortably. Unfortunately we have already lost four of them - one definitely to fighting (autopsy revealed a punctured skull), and others have disappeared. We are checking them every other day - to balance watching over them and disturbing them too often - and with every day they grow. However many of them are still not big enough to be considered 'safe': that happens at about 3 weeks old.
We have been asked for an update on the family in Jacob's house: the chick is still really tiny and we have not been able to take photos of it. Please be patient, these things take time and we do our best and will keep posts coming as they become available.
The yellow-eyed penguin chicks are growing every day and now we can sometimes see them poking out from underneath their parent's chest. Almost all chicks have hatched now, only about half a dozen to go. Fingers crossed that all goes well and the chicks have a high survival!
A kind lady in America has sponsored this yellow-eyed penguin box with a family on behalf of Jacob Thompson, a 9 year old boy with cancer. He is a big penguin lover and hopefully will get some joy from this kind early Christmas gift. The penguin pair are expecting their chicks any day and we will be posting regular updates about this special family. Here is a link to the article about Jacob: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/11/03/this-9-year-old-may-not-live-until-christmas-so-strangers-are-sending-him-an-early-holiday/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.bad502b02759
Our Yellow-eyed penguin parents have been busy over the last 6 weeks incubating their eggs and it is now time to meet the new chicks. We have 14 so far in each colony, so a total of 28 with quite a few more to go. There is a higher proportion of eggs that won't hatch this year because we have a lot of young females breeding for the first time. They usually have a lower average fertility probably due to lack of experience. So far so good, none of the older chicks have so far shown signs of the dreaded Diphtheria.