Many gentoo colonies on the north coast of South Georgia have been abandoned early in the breeding season. The birds came in to nest and laid but then appear to have left. The eggs remain on the abandoned nest unguarded. The usual hilltop colonies near Husvik were all empty, and reports from other colonies show a similar pattern. However other colonies seem to have managed better. For those birds that remain incubating, the chicks are now beginning to hatch.
The colony collapses may be associated with a lack of food close to shore. Gentoos go to sea to feed each day, so cannot get far out to sea before returning to roost or returning to the nest. The lack of food may be associated with the current El Niño event.