Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Community rallies to install boxes for penguins

Penguins get new housing


Jack Gibson-Pani and Logan Goldingham
PENGUIN CARE: Bluestone School students, including Jack Gibson-Pani, 12, (left) and Logan Goldingham, 12, made nesting boxes for the penguins on Marine Parade.
It is hoped more penguins will be tempted to nest along Timaru's coastline after boxes were installed among the rocks yesterday.

Bluestone School year 7 students last year made eight wooden boxes and helped place them alongside the natural nests. They covered the boxes with concrete and bluestone chips for insulation and camouflage.

The project was a collaboration between Stuart Croft, Bluestone School, the Department of Conservation (DOC), Timaru Yacht & Power Boat Club and a few local businesses that donated materials.

Doc community relations ranger George Isles said the little blue penguins had limited places to nest as some of the rocks were too steep for them to climb. At the moment the birds were out to sea most of the time feeding in preparation for nesting in about four weeks.

"It'll take time for them to discover the boxes. Some will get used," Mr Isles said.

He said once they chose a site to nest the adults returned each season to breed. The boxes offered a safe, dry and undercover area to avoid predators.

Bluestone principal Ian Poulter said making the boxes was a great way for the pupils to learn new skills and develop pride in their area.

Jack Gibson-Pani and Logan Goldingham, both 12, said they enjoyed learning how to construct the pre-cut nesting boxes, which took about an hour each to complete.

They named their box Fish House, with a note that fresh fish was inside.

As well as the boxes the students planted coprosma native shrubs to help create a better habitat for the sea birds.

The penguins are expected to lay one or two eggs before Christmas and then the adults take turns sitting until the eggs hatch about 37 days later.


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