New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands - 2008

because they are not all bunched together, there is no characteristic guano smell radiating out from their homes. So the sense of smell doesn’t help locate themeither. Knowing their habitats and habits is the key to finding them. Even armed with this knowledge and led by birding experts, we located only one yellow- eye near a nest containing two chicks. The nest was located deep in the rata forest we threaded our way through and it was no more secure or secret than an overhanging bank of a dry watercourse. The parent bird was quite aware of our presence as we gathered together in the very “huddling behavior” the birds scorn. Our group crouched low, some even lying on the damp earth to get eye level pictures. It was dark beneath the protecting bank and difficult to get good looks, much less photos, of the chicks but we persevered for quite a long time. The parent bird was much easier to watch since it stood around for quite a long time. Finally it must have decided that we were not a threat to the chicks and it wandered off toward the sea (a very long way off)—or maybe it was trying the old “decoy” trick of leading us away from the chicks. The twins were all covered in plushy gray down and did not really venture out of their hideaway at all. The yellow-eyed penguin gets it name from a very bright and obvious yellow eye encircled by pale yellow feathers that also wrap completely around the back of his head. Otherwise, he looks pretty much like all the other penguin species in his smart tuxedo feathering. This penguin is the 3 largest of the penguins, after the Emperor and the King, and it stands 30 inches tall and weighs about 14 lbs. The Yellow-eyed Penguin is considered the rarest penguin in the world and therefore is a species of great concern to DOC, especially since he is one of the New Zealand endemic birds. He has been adopted as the mascot for the penguin conservation programs for all New Zealand and is also the official bird for the town of Dunedin. A mysterious disease killed 60% of the chicks during 2004 and the pathogen has yet to be identified. This disease did not affect the penguins of Enderby Island directly but of course it led to the overall

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