Sometime penguins sleep so deeply they don't realise what is going on. This one looked dead and I was able to read his transponder with the reader which beeped - he never woke up. But when I took the photo the click of the camera woke him up. It is MORGAN, one of our adult yellow-eyed penguin males who has a kind sponsor. He is gorgeously fat and in his first week of the moult and will emerge no doubt in glorious new feathers in about 2 weeks time! Until then, time to zone out and sleep the days away!
This is SAKURA with her father - our last photo of this sponsored yellow-eyed penguin chick in one of our penguin colonies. Good luck, wee one, out there in the big ocean - your parents have prepared you well: 6.1kg! That's a great start in life. Go well!
The yellow-eyed penguin juveniles have started to come into the colony to start their annual moult. Here is a beautifully fat male finding a shady spot on a sunny day. Normal weight is about 5kg, this one weighs close to 7kg - enough to see him through the 4 weeks of fasting. He started out with a grey head and the new yellow feathers around his eyes are already showing. Soon he will be a beautiful adult with brand-new feathers and a yellow line!
The yellow-eyed penguin colonies are emptying out: the chicks are leaving and it is a little weird. We have been working with the eggs and then chicks for almost 5 months and now they are leaving - and all we can do is hope that they are going to be ok and wait for them to come back - either starving and in need of a top-up or fat and healthy.
The series of photos here are a pair of chicks that grew up in a sponsored box. Both chicks were treated for Diphtheria and survived. We weighed and measured them for sexing and they turned out to be a boy and a girl. He weighed 6.1kg and she weighed 5.6kg at 100 days old. These are excellent weights and their mum and dad have done a grand job. Good luck, little ones, fare well and hope to see you again!
The left one is one of our yellow-eyed penguin chicks that has a kind sponsor. It had gotten a bit skinny aged 70 days and so it has now been with us in rehab for a little while. It is still feeding very well but soon it will be time for the last transfer to the soft-release pens and then a week later the gates will be opened and the ocean beckons.
We have started the last phase of the rehabilitation of our yellow-eyed penguin chicks: five were ready to be transferred to the soft-release pens. Among them was MORGAN's chick that had been in care since before Christmas. He was finally ready for the pens just above the beach. When they are transferred here they are usually around 6kg and get one (slightly bigger) meal per day rather than two. The idea is that they are among the wild penguins, they see the beach and associate it with something pleasant like getting fed. Some chicks remember this when they can't work out how to fish and return here to be picked up again and given another chance.
You may notice there is a 6th chick in the picture - way over on the right: it is not in the pen, it is a wild chick that has come over to check out the newcomers!
The next meal is defrosting: Each pottle is salmon for one yellow-eyed penguin: blue for chicks, black for juveniles, gold and light blue for adults. It's busy in our rehab facility now, we brought in three more chicks today that were not fat enough aged 100 days.
Our hospital has now 26 yellow-eyed penguins: 19 chicks, 5 juveniles and 2 adults and they eat a lot of fish: salmon kindly provided at cost by New Zealand Salmon. Once the chicks have worked out how feeding works, it is a breeze as they cooperate. They always seem to be a little disappointed when it is all over. We can't feed them until they are full as they will just chuck it all up again. They are putting on weight beautifully and soon they are of an age and weight that we can let them go. These two are from box 200 - aka Penny Hack's box, a lady who kindly sponsored their nest box!