Hello friends and family
I hope your day went well yesterday.
The week began well with healthy looking chicks. Some are going post-guard, which means both parents are out fishing when we come around in the morning. This is to be expected at this time of the year. There are other penguins at home in the colony and we check them out in case they need a helping hand. Murray joined us on Tuesday and rose to the challenge of putting pills into penguin mouths.
On Thursday we were reminded why we weigh the chicks weekly. The chicks in nest 167 had not put on any weight. We happened to have some small fish with us and fed them at the nest. Both chicks were very hungry. We left a camera on the nest to see if any parents were coming home over night.
We also picked up Mr 51 who had been home for several days and was underweight. Sure enough, he tested positive for Malaria. This is what killed his chick a month ago.
On Friday I checked the camera and only one parent came home and only briefly at that. I brought the chicks into care. When I went to get them, there was a feral cat there, within 3 m of the chicks, being harassed by the gulls. All of those gull chicks have been predated.
2021 has been a difficult year for the penguins here at Katiki Point. We started with 25 nests but 9 have failed and we have 20 live chicks, a fledging ratio of 0.8, not even enough for the penguins to be replacing themselves. At the Moeraki colony we have 26 chicks from 18 nests, a fledging ration of 1.4 which is okay.
It has also been a difficult year for the team with 2 members walking away from the penguins because they choose not to be vaccinated against COVID. We are left feeling betrayed and keep blaming ourselves for not seeing it coming. We are determined to stay optimistic.
Have a great week and a Healthy and Happy New Year