Cape Royds Nest Check 2013-14
Cape Royds is a small colony of about 2100 nests. It has declined in size since 2000, when there were 4000 nests. The decline was due to a large iceberg that grounded about 60 km (40 miles) north and caused McMurdo Sound to be completely ice covered. This made it difficult for Royds penguins, who had to walk much longer distances than they like. Therefore, many penguins left Royds to find nests in colonies closer to open water. In 2007 water was much closer, only a few kilometers away, penguins started to return to Cape Royds. In 2008, the open water was again about 75 km away and the penguins had to walk further to get here, many decided not to, and there were fewer nests. About half of the nests that were started were lost as the brooding parent could not wait for the foraging parent to return. Hunger forced them to abandon the eggs.
The open water was about a 2km from the colony at the start of the 2009 season and made it much easier for the penguins to reach the colony, but for some reason egg laying was delayed by several days. This also delayed hatching and meant that many chicks would not be ready when the winter conditions closed in. In the 2011 season we had the biggest chicks we have ever seen. The ocean was close and the food plentiful. Every season presents new mysteries to solve, join us as the 2013-14 season unfolds.
Today is the last day of our 2013-14 Nest Check. Many of the chicks have joined creches and will soon be on their own. We have pulled down our tents and moved back to our laboratory at McMurdo Research Station. Our ten nests produced 13 big healthy chicks (77%), a little bit over the average for the colony (50%) so we are pleased. Come back next November for a whole new season at Cape Royds with new penguin families and new adventures.
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|Picture of the Day. If you would like to see all the pictures from this year go HERE.|
|Jan 17, 2014 LAST PICTURE of the season.|
|Biggest Chick. Although this is not one of our chicks, it was the biggest chick in the colony on our last day at Cape Royds. You can see he has started to molt from the wooly chick feathers into the waterproof adult feathers. Soon he will be able to stay warm and dry in the ocean and get his own food.|
|Daily pictures of each nest . To see all the past pictures click on the nest #|
Nest #1 Deandre and the 2 chicks.
|Nest #2 JJ is on the nest, our chick is sleeping|
|Nest #3 The nest is empty, both parents have left, Jan 13, 2104|
|Nest #4 Snowy and Blackie are on the nest and the chick is gone. Jan 14, 2013.|
|Nest #5 Icarus is on the nest, one of the chicks is getting fed.|
|Nest #6 Eleanor, and Sheldon.|
|Nest #7 Mia is near the nest, our two chicks are there too.|
Nest #8 Jackson is on the nest, 1 chick.
|Nest #9 Opal is near the nest, our two chicks there too.|
|Nest #10 Tacky is here, both chicks are doing well.|