Feeling a little blue?
Watching a live feed of two little penguin chicks might cheer you up.
Since mid-July, the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony has had two cameras live-streaming its wildlife activity .
Offering an intimate view of the birds, the cameras were installed by the Urban Wildlife Trust as part of its Niwa Korora Cam Project.
The colony received two AXIS cameras – one embedded in the lid of a nesting box that contained two eggs, and the other positioned outside where the penguins came ashore and fur seals sunbathed.
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony science and environmental manager Philippa Agnew said the staff were really excited, particularly with the nesting box camera.
“Even though we work really closely with the penguins, we don’t get to see that side of it,” Dr Agnew said.
“We don’t know exactly how long it takes [to hatch] because we haven’t been able to watch it so closely before.”
Last Friday , the hatching of two little penguins was live-streamed.
The chicks hatched much more quickly than Dr Agnew expected, as one emerged late afternoon or early evening, and the other during the night.
The mother was 17 and the father, her sixth partner, was 6.
Now that the chicks were born, the adult birds would take turns watching the nest and going out to sea. When the chicks were 2 to 3-weeks-old, both parents would go out to sea every day and return to feed the chicks.
Dr Agnew said this might not be regular during a year with poor food availability, but it was another pattern the cameras would give researchers an insight into.
The cameras were not only useful from a research standpoint, but they also allowed people to connect with the animals in a different way and broaden the audience.
“We can talk not just about what is happening on camera, but relate it to penguin biology in general and fur seals,” Dr Agnew said.
“It helps get our work and story out there a bit further.”
For Dr Agnew, the colony’s story was one of research and conservation.
“We are not just a tourism operation that was established to view penguins. We have a lot of conservation research work going on behind the scenes.
“We work towards protecting them, carrying out research and understanding them as much as we can.”
People could tune into the live-stream and watch the chicks as they developed, until 8-weeks-old when they fledged and went to sea.
The live-stream could be found on the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony’s Facebook page.