These videos were shot on a cell phone and ain't Attenborough quality but we wanted to share them because they show the behaviour and home life of the penguins, the courting of the pair - yes, the male-male pair as it so happens - the insistence of the chick etc. So here is another helping of life of a yellow-eyed penguin pair on a hot afternoon in December!
There is a lot of sitting round for a chick and waiting for the next meal, but when dad comes home the excitement starts and who cares that someone with a camera is watching! Here one of the dads of the male-male pair has returned home and is feeding his chick while the neighbour is calling in the backgroung. Enjoy!
Some of our yellow-eyed penguin chicks are getting quite comical in their attempts to hide under the parent's belly despite being really rather too big for it.
The wee scare this pair had with a visiting black cat seems to be in the past as they dote on their ball of fluff. Neither Wotan nor Poppy have bred successfully before so all this parenting is new to them. They are doing a great job and the chick has survived Diphtheria and is thriving. Well, when your dad is named after a Germanic god no black cat would dare!!
This is their wee chick and it had wandered off a couple of meters from the nest when we came round to see if all was well. It looked vaguely guilty and started to dash off back to the box. They are getting bigger - hard to believe this chick is 4.5 weeks old and already off on adventures! .... and here it is running home to it's sibling while mum is keeping an eye on everything!
We have reported here many times that we have a surplus of males in our yellow-eyed penguin colony and that the lonely males can cause havoc among the breeders when they also want an egg or chick resulting in fights that can kick the egg out of the nest or kill a chick. To our delight we had three male-male pairings this year (that is 6 fewer males to worry about) and we trained them up with plaster eggs and when the time came and we needed homes for eggs coming from difficult 'homes' they took to parenthood like ducks to water. Here is one of the three pairs proudly guarding his chick. One of these two males is a young sweet 2 years old and never bred before. His mate is older and has bred with females in the past, but his last wife died last year. They received one fertile egg from us so not to tax the youngster too much and so far so good - they are doing a fab job - and they are so PROUD!! (and so are we....)
It wasn't easy to get a photographic glimpse of the chicks in this box as they have very protective parents and they huddle behind them most days. But on this day one of them peaked out from under the parent to see who was visiting.....we are so pleased and relieved they survived Diphtheria and should be ok now!
Working with penguins (in general and with yellow-eyed penguins in particular) can be pretty messy and it is expected that one gets poohed on regularly - and it is really a blessing - albeit a smelly one! This is Vivek's chick and I was trying to photograph it next to it's mum here when it turned around and had a good shot out the front. Watching it through the view finder allowed me to capture the moment! Evidently it is getting plenty of fish!