Thursday, June 23, 2011

Penguin Gets Lost and Visits New Zealand

New York area birders are excited about the presence of a Hooded Crow in a park in Staten Island, New York. This would be an extraordinary record if the crow got here on its own, without the assistance of a bird collector or ship. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, New Zealand has just as unusual of a visitor. A young Emperor Penguin arrived on New Zealand's Kapiti coast.

Experts had checked the bird, nicknamed Happy Feet, and confirmed it was healthy and in good condition, biodiversity programme manager Peter Simpson said.

It was venturing into the sea at night to feed and moving between locations on the beach.

"We keep our interference with wild animals to an absolute minimum, and this emperor penguin is no exception."

The juvenile penguin, was named by Peka Peka Beach resident Chris Wilton, who first saw it on Monday afternoon, standing on the beach flapping its flippers. It weighs about 10 kilograms and stands about a metre tall.

It is only the second time an emperor penguin has been recorded on New Zealand shores and DOC put up a sign near it yesterday, urging people to keep their distance and to ensure dogs were kept on leads.

Mr Simpson said people had flocked to the beach to see the penguin and a lot of admirers had asked why it was not being taken back to Antarctica.

"It is midwinter and completely dark down there, there is nothing going there.

"More importantly, during its long trip here, it would have come across other penguins and penguin diseases and we do not want to take it back and introduce those diseases to Antarctica."
This is the first record of that species in New Zealand in 44 years.