12 March 2011

Positive breeding season for yellow-eyed penguins

Yellow-eyed penguin. Photo by
mat79. Some rights reseved.
NEW ZEALAND - There's some good news for yellow-eyed penguins on the Otago coast: the Department of Conservation (DOC) has recently finished its pre-fledge nest checks and told the Otago Daily Times that overall it's been a very positive breeding season.

This good result comes despite an outbreak of avian diptheria that hit the Otago Peninsula and caused the death of about half the chicks at Boulder Beach and Sandfly Bay, leaving only 70 chicks to fledge.

DOC ranger Mel Young told the Otago Daily Times that there were about 485 nests along the coast, which was similar to the previous breeding season. Even better, most of the eggs hatched and the majority of chicks survived to the pre-fledge check and have since fledged slightly earlier than normal.

During the pre-fledge check, chicks that were found to be significantly lighter than the ideal fledge weight of 5kg were transferred to Penguin Place's penguin hospital to be "fattened up".

There was also good news from Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust field manager Dave McFarlane, who said it had been a "pretty positive" season for the trust's reserves. He told the Otago Daily Times that average chick weights were slightly up on last year and nest numbers were similar to other years. 

Breeding season very positive: DOC by Rebecca Fox, 5 March 2011, Otago Daily Times

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