Manners count even when you are only a 3 month old Yellow-eyed penguin chick:
Here is an adult minding its own business when a chick comes charging into the picture and does a "sky-point": standard polite greeting among Yellow-eyed penguins which can either mean "hello, how are you?" (which is probably the case here as it is between a chick and an adult) or "giddaye, gorgeous, howzit going??" (which is usually between adults when they encounter each other, and is flirting of course).
The adult looks a little alarmed at the enthusiasm of the chick - but maybe he fears one of his own chicks has followed him there and wants more food. They always WANT MORE FOOD NOW!!
My box, my castle
Penguin Rescue is a charitable trust that aims to protect Yellow-eyed penguins at the Moeraki Peninsula in North Otago, New Zealand. We rely entirely on donations from people, amongst them kind sponsors who adopt a penguin and have naming rights. We issue a certificate with photos and the story of their penguin and post updates here on Facebook.
This is Poppy, a sponsored chick from nest 46 at Katiki Point. Poppy is all grown up now and has left the colony to start life as an independent penguin. She was last sighted on 8 February when we checked her weight at 99 days old: it was 6.2kg. That is a one fat chick!! Hopefully she will quickly learn to fish and return as a juvenile some time through winter.
If you are interested in supporting us through sponsoring a chick ($50), an adult or juvenile ($150) or something else, please go here:
No more fluff
"Hey, look at me, I am a proper penguin now!" - this is a proud Yellow-eyed penguin chick at 100 days old. No more fluff and ready to go any day! Looking wonderful!
King of the castle
One by one our Yellow-eyed penguin chicks have started to leave the colony for the big blue but this one still enjoys his throne. We find the adults and chicks like to sit on something and that can be a dead flax, a predator trap box, a nest box or a rock. There is something about sitting tall on pedestal that they love and they look magnificent!
It is rare that we get to see parent Yellow-eyed penguins feeding their chicks as they usually stop until we have moved on. But this devoted parent continued to feed his enthusiastically begging chick. The chicks have now lost almost all their down and will be ready to leave soon and start their independent lives. Once they have left the colony there is no more contact with the parents and they have to fend for themselves. Parenting is then over and the adults will start to prepare for the moult.
This weekend we got very excited: we sighted our first moulting juveniles - two of them - of the season. These one-year old Yellow-eyed penguins fledged a year ago and are exactly on time with their moult. Still wearing the same feathers as they grew as chicks last year they will now spend 4 weeks ashore while the new feathers grow. During this time they are not waterproof and so they have to stay on land. That means no food. That means they had to prepare for this fast and ought to weigh 7-8kg at the start and they loose half of that during the moult. This one looks fabulously prepared and lovely rotund!
It's been hot these past days here at the Yellow-eyed penguin colony and the chicks are now about 90 days old and mostly sleeping through the day in the shade. They each require about 1kg of food a day from their parents - which is just as well that the parents can in fact carry about 1kg of food in their stomachs. But the parents themselves also need 1kg per day especially since they are probably already thinking about moulting. That is a third of their body weight to catch every day: think about your own weight and then work out the equivalent (no need to share the details - only your amazement at the work load these penguins face every day!)
Feeding story in pictures:
There was this single Yellow-eyed penguin chick that was desperate for some food and begged and begged from its parents that had finally arrived from sea. Finally dad gave in and started feeding when a seagull - that had also been waiting patiently - attempted to disrupt the transfer of food: the food went flying and the gull won a meal.
Not to worry, mum also had some food and the chick had a full belly after all. All was well. THE END