Ready to come home
We have had the - sometimes - pleasure to care for a Fiordland penguin for a while. He was very sick and emaciated and hadn't moulted and it took him ages to get over it and moult. The eating thing was not so easy, as he kept biting down on the fish munting it and trying to feed a disemboweled fish can get a bit messy. Now though it is time to head home - a bit of a swim as he normally lives on the west coast or Stewart Island. But the sea is his home and he is a good weight and knows how to fish. He was just a bit lost - a good thing he was found and can now go home. Bon voyage - be well.
This 2 year old yellow-eyed penguin female did very, very well raising a chick with her mate - a chick that was named Pompey and was one of the very few in the colony that managed to fledge without any help from us. Now mum needs a little TLC to make it through the moult so that she can be back next season and practice parenting!!
A young lady called Bri
This 3-year old yellow-eyed penguin female has now got a guardian angel in a sponsor. She has an incredible line of ancestors from Moeraki, Otago Peninsula and even the Catlins that stretch back seven generations to 1978. Last season she hooked up with "Mr Crazy", a rather stroppy older male but had no luck with chicks. She left him for her current mate and managed to raise a couple of chicks - one came to rehab for a top-up - a great achievement for one so young. She is now half way through her moult and residing in our rehab facility. We are making sure she is not exposed to whatever is causing the Malaria until the end of her moult and then she can be on her way. So far so good, no trace of the parasite in her!
Ciara and her brother
Sometimes strange coincidences happen: we picked up Ciara yesterday as she looked a little too thin for our liking coming to the end of the moult - indeed she was under 4 kg - so she is with us for some TLC, blood tests, salmon etc. And on the same day we picked up another bird that looked like it was not quite fat enough. When we checked the chip it turned out to be Ciara's brother: same year, same parents. He is the coy one of the left while Ciara was not in the mood to pose and that was the best photo she allowed us to take.
P.S. Stewie Junior, Ciara's mate, was still moulting and looking fine.
Easy peezy when they are hungry
Some of our yellow-eyed penguins in rehab at the moment are pre-moult, that means that they are super hungry and are really easy to feed - like this adult who would probably love to have twice as much. They get salmon and it is easy to over-feed them and that results in vomiting - not good. So twice a day they get a meal that it way too small - in their opinion. Once the munchies are over and you offer them a fish they look at you with this expression: "why are you sticking that in my face?" By that stage they probably weigh over 7kg and don't actually need any more food. So they tell us when they have had enough.
Penny Box 3 pair
Those of you who have been following us for a while might remember that the pair breeding in this box lost their chick when it was about 3 weeks old. Usually failed pairs do quite well through the moult as they didn't have to raise chicks but both of these two needed a little top-up to get fat enough for the moult. Pairs that moult together stay together so they have their own pen and it was quite the greeting when we put them together: hopefully their pair bond survives and they will return next season to make beautiful wee chicks!
They did very well and raised both chicks to a good age and weight but then it was time for one of them to come into rehab. It's sibling stayed and fledged naturally and this wee boy will head the same way. They have produced many chicks that have come back so his chances are hopefully pretty good. Come back though, ya hear!
This wee girl was hanging out in a paddock and was not gaining much weight. Her mother Chicky is only 2 years old and her father hasn't bred in years so we had adopted her sibling out to Jackson and his mate, to ease the workload. But in the end she needed to get a little top-up from us. She had managed to stay Malaria free and is now ready for the soft-release pens and the big blue. Good luck wee girl!
Janet's second chick
We did bring in Janet - see previous post - for a little TLC but couldn't leave her mate with 2 chicks. So we brought one of them into our rehab facility as well and it is now ready to be released.
Our chicks are going now and we have stepped up our efforts to find any that return on any of our beaches along the coast. Hopefully if they come back someone will find them and let us know. This is a crucial part of our efforts to have as many survive as possible.