Ranger, Linden, reports on two exciting new tools for monitoring kororā:

Building on our foundation of 16 years of monitoring breeding success at two Charleston little penguin/ kororā colonies, this year we have two exciting new tools to further our knowledge of kororā breeding, foraging, and in the long-term, population demography.

Firstly, two new handheld microchip readers allow us to learn so much more about the penguins. For example, we’ll see which penguins are occupying which nest boxes, whether couples are staying together from year to year and which chicks return to the colony. These readings can be done with little disturbance to the penguins.

We are hugely grateful to The Trusts Community Foundation for a grant to purchase the readers, and to Farm Source Methven for doing us a fabulous deal including arranging the donation of protective rigid wand reader carriers from the manufacturer, Gallagher. Many thanks to all three.

The new microchip wand reader in action at a penguin nest box

Secondly, the installation of a fixed microchip reader at the entrance/exit of one of the colonies will tell us all the comings and goings of kororā. We are very fortunate that at this colony all of the kororā enter and exit the colony via a single narrow path, which makes it an ideal spot to place a microchip reader. This reader records the number of every microchipped penguin which passes through it. In turn, this will give us valuable information about how long penguins are ashore and at sea for, which should vary depending on the stage of the breeding season, such as incubating eggs, as now, or raising chicks. In addition, over the long term we will be able to see how many chicks return to breed, which in turn will give us a better idea of the overall population trends of kororā.

We’re grateful to Little Totara Electrical for kindly donating cable and some time to help set this up, and we’d like to acknowledge the specialist skills of the maker of this complex bit of kit, Kean Maizels of Kean Electronics Pty over in Australia.

On top of that, we’d like to thank our very generous Supporters and other donors. The fixed reader was a big investment for the trust, and one we could not have made without your superb support and generosity. Thank you.

Our old Ranger Matt Charteris still getting involved with penguins and installing the new fixed reader