Following a call out in May we are shown into a home on Ngunguru’s waterfront to see what can be done to move a pair of little blue penguins on. The smell hits you first, its the smell of fish once used, or like fish bits added to a rubbish bag and left out. Yes it really does smell bad. Then comes the noise the guttural rumbling growls, the scratching out of a scrape and the high pitched caterwauling as the little blues settle into a relationship under the house.
The Little Blue Penguin or Fairy Penguins are seemingly numerous along our coastline. Like a lot of our sea birds the true state of the population is really unknown. A new nationwide project ‘The Penguin Initiative’ (https://www.penguin-conservation.nz/) is gearing up to monitor penguins and try and find some answers to how healthy our penguin populations are.
Although Little Blue Penguins spend a lot of time at sea, they seek safe havens on land to nest, breed, raise their young and moult. The safe haven they chose this in this instance was a 1920’s bach on the waterfront of the Ngunguru Estuary. With wooden floorboards only 20cm or so above ground where they’ve settled. Both the smell and noise permeates through the tiny dwelling.
We are in luck we thought, its May and the Little Blue Penguins are only just starting to get to know each other and find a home to raise their young..we’ve got time to move them on. Access to under the house is boarded off and a purpose built penguin house placed by the entrance to the section along with gates and paraphernalia funneling them from the sea to the penguin house is in place.
Time moves on, it’s now August the ‘little blue’s’ determination to get back underneath the house has paid off, short of ripping up the floorboards the nest is inaccessible, and could have eggs. Little Blue Penguins choose when to lay, this ‘choice’ we think is dictated by how good their food source along with other factors. They usually lay two eggs somewhere between August and November.
Let us know if you, like these seaside residents have penguin at your place, or if you think they may be vulnerable where they are or you find a dead penguin. We have houses for sale( for the penguins that is!) and we are recording mortalities. All of this information is useful and will help contribute to the Penguin Initiative Project. For help or for further information contact Mike here.
You can find more detailed information on our website for Korora or Little Blue Penguins here.