The Yellow-eyed Penguin Megadyptes antipodes is among the rarest penguins in the world. Breeding success is high for Yellow-eyed Penguins with an average of more than one chick fledged annually per nest, but 70 to 75% of fledged chicks do not survive their first year. Yellow-eyed Penguins may be limited by the availability of adequate nesting sites because most use man-made nests. Nests, which can be up to 1 km inland, usually fail if they are within viewing distance of other nests. Since nests are a long way from the water, travel to nests may be ecologically expensive. However, remoteness may pay off in increased reproductive success. To address these questions, I studied the Yellow-eyed Penguin colony at Papanui Beach, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand. I recorded the arrival times, travel times, and distances to roost and nest sites. The population consisted of 26% juveniles, 5% non-breeding adults, and 69% breeding adults, which represents a high juvenile rate. The higher the number of juveniles and non-breeders, the better chance of increasing pairs for the next breeding season. The farther the nests are from the sea, the longer the duration of the trek to the nest. Juveniles tend to roost close to the sea, thus having a short distance and a shorter travel time. However, I found no correlation between nest location and breeding success in this colony.
Brooke Kirkpatrick, 02 Englewood, CO
Sponsor: Craig Tepper