The coolest little bird in the world!
If you love the coast you’ll love this bird! From the harbour islands to the South Coast and even in the heart of the city, the Little Blue Penguin shares some of our favourite places.
As they waddle up beaches with flippers outstretched, we can’t help but love them. It’s the world’s smallest penguin at around 25cm tall and around 1kg. It’s also the penguin that most of us can see around New Zealand’s coastline, often while walking at dusk or kayaking by the rocks.
They even live and nest under the waterfront in the middle of our coolest little capital city. If you walk along the Wellington waterfront, you might see one swimming in the harbour, or under the wharves, right now.
The other time you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse is during dawn and dusk, when they travel back and forth to their burrows. They can even sleep on the water and stay at sea for weeks.
At this time of the year the little blue penguins are in the middle of nesting and many adults are looking after their fluffy little chicks until they are big enough to head out themselves. Youngsters from Wellington Harbour have been found as far afield as the Wairarapa Coast and Pukerua Bay, a big distance to swim for a little bird!
Penguins are wonderful, but sometimes they can live a bit too close to home. Little blue penguins can be very loud and particularly smelly, and have a fondness for living under people’s houses. In Wellington, the local community is creating nest boxes for them around the coast to get them out from under people’s houses and into a more natural environment. This also stops them from crossing the road, a danger for any self respecting penguin.
Another part of community work is pest control and advocacy, removing rats and mustelids and ensuring that owners of cats and dogs are responsible and enjoy their pets without risking our little blue neighbours.
For the amusement they give us, the challenges they face and the fact that they are little battlers who can enjoy a metropolitan lifestyle, the Little Blue Penguins deserve everyone’s vote for bird of the year. Vote for the little Blue Penguin!