The Blue Penguins Pukekura visitor experience will be in hibernation from 1 June 2021 - 31 October 2021.
01 March 2020

Blue Penguins Pukekura Project

Blue Penguins - Blue Penguins Pukekura Project

March 2020 Report

Blue Penguins Pukekura Project

2019 Season

Report for March 2020


Hiltrun Ratz, PhD


Breeding season:


The 2019 breeding season is almost finished with all naturally fledged chicks now gone. The last four straggles that are still being supplementary fed and the numbers below do not include them:


Number of clutches: 292 (226 in 2018)

Number of eggs laid: 571 (446 in 2018)

Number of chicks hatched: 452 (303 in 2018)

Number of chicks fledged so far: 408 (269 total in 2018)

Number of females breeding: 214 (175 in 2018)


Supplementary feeding:

This is slowly coming to an end. I have continued to feed the chicks daily during the lockdown as I live close by and do not interact with anyone. Overall the feeding was successful, although I have had some deaths, pre-fledging and post-fledging.


Total number of chicks supplementary fed: 42

Pre-fledging deaths: 1

Fledged and not returned: 23

Unwilling to fledge, taken to Moeraki and released successfully: 5

Fledged, returned to colony and died: 4

Fledged, returned to colony and then left again: 1


I’m feeding 8 chicks at the moment (7 April), four are not ready to leave yet, and four have left but have returned. In addition tomorrow (8 April) a chick from Pilots Beach was found at Steamer Basin and cared for since 3 April at the Wildlife Hospital. It will return to Pilots Beach to be rehabilitated and then released along with the adult and any remaining chicks.


On 1 April 2020 I was contacted by a Harrington Point resident who had collected a little penguin adult from the beach to keep it safe from people and dogs. I brought it home overnight and then took it to Pilots Beach to feed it in the rehab cage there (see photo). It had not moulted and weighed only 760g. The details of the rehabilitation plan are still worked out for the time after daily visits for supplementary feeding of chicks.