BROWSE

First penguin chicks of the season

It’s a busy time of year for the little kororā on port and this week we were thrilled to welcome our first two chicks of the current breeding season! The hatchings were coincidentally captured on one of our Keeping Up With The Kororā live cams available here.

We currently have 16 other eggs in our kororā sanctuary across 9 active nesting boxes. The penguins are currently in ‘guard’ phase, which is one of a penguin pair sits on the nest while the other goes out to gather food. Once hatched, the penguin chicks spend the next eight weeks in the nest before they are fully grown and set off into the wild. At six weeks old, each penguin will be safely micro-chipped by our environmental team so that we can track which penguins are returning home to the sanctuary over time.

Another important event in our kororā calendar was the recent annual penguin survey, which was carried out with Jo Sim from DabChick. Jo brought her penguin detector dogs Rua and Miro on port to sniff out nests around the port and also under our wharves. This was the first time we have taken the dogs underneath the wharves. The dogs found 178 nests, which are plotted on the GIS map below. We now have good base data so we can measure whether penguin numbers are changing when we do next year’s survey – but anecdotally at least, it feels like the local kororā population is thriving.

In other penguin news we’ve recently worked with Professor John Cockrem of Massey University to install GPS trackers on five kororā, so we can learn more about their activities when they leave the sanctuary. John has authorisation from DOC for tracker attachment and has tracked lots of kororā in the South Island, but this is a first for North Island penguins. The loggers will give us four weeks of data on the location, depth and acceleration that the birds reach when swimming. Very little is known about the kororā in the wild, so we are excited to learn more about our local kororā population and share this information with the public.

Annual Penguin Survey Results 2021

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