The Update of Updates
 Notes from Rehab then and now


Here's the scoop on all things penguin thus far:

In terms of power-washing poop mats, I found there's another 'on' switch nearer the ground. Plus one for short people. The fish shortage is over, and I'm now handling penguins like a boss.  But what about the bird bites, you ask? Bring it. I'm not even bothered. My suggestions for updated disinfectant names haven't stuck as of yet. Perhaps if I submit it in writing...

The severely underweight Penguin 137 from the ICU post, is looking lovely and is still on the mend. Her neighbour, Penguin 136 from the ICU photograph is also doing better. AP136 has been moved to Pen Three (the last pen before release), where he will slowly work his way up from a no-force to an hour swimmer as his waterproofing improves (photo bottom left). After clearance from the vet he will be on his way, home free. Penguin 118 has been upgraded to an hour swimmer, and rumours of his imminent release are circulating.

The gannets from this photo had both happy and sad fates. The older one, in the back was released. The younger one in the foreground was euthanised on account of a damaged leg that wasn't healing.  

The infamous Cape Cormorant 138, my favourite Hartlaub's Gull 314, the Southern Giant Petrel, the Oystercatcher and the Swift Terns who had the board meeting have all been released. 'Warrior with wings' 336 has been moved back to Home Pen and will remain a resident of the centre after a brief time in Pen Three. He is an arrested moulter, which means he stopped moulting halfway between juvenile and adult. Despite his special appearance, he has a girlfriend and is busy digging a nest for her (photo below). Apparently the nesting boxes aren't good enough, which is fine. 336, if you've got it, you've got it. You do you.


The manic penguin bodyguard also residing in Home Pen has an official name, I've since learned, and it's String. I might be a little off, too if that was my name... just sayin'. He's joined by Beak Boy from this photo (who also can't be released on account of his twisted beak), along with Rocky, the centre's ambassador bird and only rockhopper penguin. She's tame and is always ready to point you in the right direction or give a free hug. 



In terms of reader's questions concerning numbering and collection... 


The number represents when the bird was admitted to the centre, per species, per year. So AP136, for example, was the 136th African Penguin admitted in 2015, and OY002 was the second Oystercatcher. 

If for some reason a bird has stayed longer than usual and there are two of the same number, they are noted with letters 136A & 136B, though there were none as such while I've been here. When they leave, there is no marking to say the penguin had come through the centre, other than a temporary ink mark on the stomach, which lasts a few weeks. Flying birds are ringed (a silver ring is attached to the ankle).

One penguin returned with an ink mark and was placed in Pen Three (they have scouts that pick up or notify the centre concerning abandoned eggs, sick and underweight penguins etc.). I'm not sure why. A swift tern also returned by himself. He sat on top of the roof of the centre for a day or so, and I think was caught and put back in ICU. Apparently he knew exactly where to come when he was sick. lol 

Though the centre rehabilitates coastal birds, they do accept other birds for a small fee, which they stabilise and forward to relevant caregivers. I saw several garden doves and a crow pass through. Everyone was really excited about the crow.
And no, I have not yet been able to stomach the thought of eating a can of pilchards after all that food prep, and I'm still waiting on the crocs (hint, hint). Maybe next year... 
Hope that answers all your questions! If you have any more, feel free to give me a shout. :)  


And that about does it for updates on birds at the centre. I've made lots of new friends this side of the hemisphere and am a lonely penguin no more. Despite saying goodbye to the feathered friends as they cycle through the centre,  there's something comforting in knowing they're on the beach somewhere, getting on with their lives as I get on with mine. The world isn't such a big place after all. 

Speaking of goodbyes... We are releasing several blues this afternoon, including the adorable hunchback penguin 1091, whom you vaguely met before (he's the unnamed bird responsible for all the flying fish when I learned to feed). Stay tuned tomorrow for photos and video.  :)