Posted on December 14th, 2011 No comments
New Zealand has three main species of penguins, the yellow-eyed, the little blue and the Fiordland crested. They all lay two eggs every year, and the little blue is even able to lay two clutches of two eggs. The Fiordland crested hatches out two chicks but rarely do they both survive, a strategy that is not entirely understood.
Yellow-eyed penguins all lay their eggs pretty much at the same time each year and as a consequence about 43 days later, on or around November 9th, their chicks will hatch. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on December 5th, 2011 No comments
The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust made their inaugural appearance in Dunedin’s Santa Parade on Sunday 4 December 2011. Over 25 volunteers, Trust staff and supporters donned penguin costumes, yellow beaks and masks in true penguin style, and danced, skated, uni-cycled and drove mobile penguins along George Street. Up to 40,000 spectators turned out on the day to experience the fun and Christmas atmosphere of this longstanding community event. And, of course, the big guy turned up too – in his traditional red and white. Thank you to everyone who supported the Trust’s parade – we plan on doing it again next year! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on November 28th, 2011 No comments
Seabird Genius, written by Neville Peat, is the story of L.E.Richdale, the royal albatross, and the yellow-eyed penguin. Lance Richdale achieved international fame as the father of Otago’s albatross colony and for his research on the behaviour of the yellow-eyed penguin. Richdale, a teacher, spent his weekends, holidays and evenings undertaking major and meticulous research on penguins, albatrosses and several petrel species.
Friday the eleventh day of the eleventh month in two thousand and eleven was a memorable day for a small group of people visiting Dunedin. Members of both Lance and Agnes Richdale’s family were hosted by the YEPT on an Otago Peninsula tour as a precursor to the launch of Seabird Genius. The extended family of 15 nieces, nephews and cousins were shown some of the Trust’s work on a private reserve, the site where Lance undertook his first penguin studies at Cape Saunders. They were then given a tour of the Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head by the Otago Peninsula Trust.
You can order your own copy of this fantastic book through the Otago University Press.
Posted on November 28th, 2011 No comments
Despite a promising start to the day (in spite of an atrocious forecast), the planters and Trust staff were eventually rained off around lunchtime. Some true grit and resolve were on display as the final few plants went in amid the downpour! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on November 10th, 2011 No comments
A limited number of native trees, grasses and plants are now for sale, with proceeds going to help save yellow-eyed penguins. The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s not for profit and community-based nursery has exceeded its planting production this year. They have approximately 500 native plants and shrubs to offload by Friday December 9, 2011. Many of the natives were potted by Trust Ambassador and NZ rugby icon Kieran Read, on a visit to the nursery earlier this year.
Nursery Manager, Anita Pillai says the natives, grown from seedlings at the nursery by Trust volunteers, are perfect ‘carbon suckers’ for planting before Christmas or into the New Year. “We’ve planted a huge number of these natives to establish and enhance our penguin habitats; however, this year, we have ended up with a surplus.
“I can’t bear to throw out or compost these ‘babies’ which we have nurtured from seed to this stage, so would love to find good homes for them”, says Anita.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on November 1st, 2011 No comments
Wade in and join me, Anton Oliver, Patron of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, to vote yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) for Bird of the Year. http://www.birdoftheyear.org.
Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) are the noisy penguins. Their name in Maori means ‘noise shouter’; their piercing calls can be heard over the crashing waves. For me there’s something really special about being on a beach at dawn and hearing the shout as they bid farewell and head off to sea for the day. As the sun rises they awaken for the days foraging to gather fish for themselves or for their chicks. These trips can see them swim as far as 50 km off shore and then dive as much as 200 times each day to depths of 160m to catch the small fish on the bottom of our ocean floors. No wonder their scientific name also has significance, Megadyptes antipodes, meaning large southern diver.
I feel a real affinity to these endangered birds of ours. They are majestic, standing at 65 cm and weighing in at up to 6 kg. Bit like my old front row of the AB’s really, in the bird sense, although they’re far more dashing. Their yellow eye and its surrounding stripe and head back gives rise to their name and makes them stand out in uniqueness.
One has to wonder if their shouts are because hoiho is the least social, preferring to nest out of sight of other penguins. They are forest or shrubland nesting birds, preferring to nest in a secluded site with their back against a tree or log. The breeding season begins with courtship in August until the two chicks fledge in March of the following year. The devoted parents share all the nest duties from incubating the eggs to feeding the ever-hungry chicks.
Their ‘Charlie Chaplin-like’ antics make them look almost human. And us humans have given them a pretty rough time. Their nesting sites were all but destroyed by our ancestors who removed vast areas of coastal forests. Now they can only be found along the southeast coast of the South island, on Stewart Island and in the subantarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands. Their natural predators at sea are a threat, but so are all the nasties we Europeans introduced – dogs, stoats, cats, etc. So, come on all you bird lovers. These guys need our vote. Stand up and shout for our noisy penguins now …
Polls close 25 November. You need a current email address to register your vote. Tell your friends too!
Posted on October 28th, 2011 No comments
Meet Larry, the Fiordland crested penguin, who decided to hitch a ride on the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise boat Navigator this week.
A Real Journeys spokeswoman said 23 of Larry’s relatives were also seen by the Navigator crew on Seymour Island, proof that predator control in the area was working. ”A passenger spotted the penguin waiting patiently at the top of the steps on the kayak deck to be let through the gates,” the spokeswoman said.
“Nature guide Jason Carter was alerted and went down to find the Fiordland crested penguin, happy as Larry, sitting on the steps.”
From ODT 28/10/11 – see http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/west-coast/184181/penguin-hitches-ride
Posted on October 28th, 2011 No comments
During conservation week, Room 15 at Tahuna IntermediateSchool invited the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust into their classroom to talk about plant propagation and penguins, and to show the Trust what conservation measures their school is doing to save the planet.
Armed with buckets of potting mix, pots and seed trays Nursery Manager Anita Pillai invaded the classroom for action. After a talk with pictures on penguins and the work of the Trust, the main business started. Each pupil learnt how to “prick out” a plant and pot them up. They all took one home to nurture and grow to adult size to plant out where they choose. By the end of session many of these plants had become so precious they had names! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 20th, 2011 No comments
Yellow-eyed penguins waving donation buckets in their flippers greeted visitors to the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival on 1 October. Children clamoured to be photographed with their favourite penguin and were invited to visit the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust stand. Here they could see eye to eye with a real (stuffed) penguin and learn more about its life and how to help the Trust grow trees to enhance its habitat. Thousands of people enjoyed sampling the seafood on offer at the festival and were able to learn more about an expert on seafood at our stand.
Many thanks to the ‘penguins’ who did a great job entertaining the crowds (some were seen doing some groovy moves on the dance floor, which must have been difficult in the suits!) and raised over $500 for the Trust. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on August 28th, 2011 No comments
A hardy group of students from Opoho Primary School joined Ranger Leith Thomson and Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust Nursery staff Toby Bulow and Anita Pillai on Friday 19th August at Okia to help plant pikao in the native dune systems that we have been developing. Despite the snow earlier in the week and the lingering southerly, around 11 pupils, parents and teacher Lucy Marr were still keen to come out and learn about native dune systems. They successfully planted 200 pikao plants in a very short time.
The group from the school, the Fantails Club, is dedicated to doing things to help the environment and is supported by the Enviroschools programme. They have offered to assist us with growing pikao in their school shade house that we can use on our reserves. We will visit the school later this year to teach them how we propagate pikao and how to look after it. Read the rest of this entry »