It’s summertime, which means the Stony Point African Penguin colony are in moulting season. This annual feathering process often causes many abandoned chicks to be brought into the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
SANCCOB just admitted 29 baby chicks who were abandoned by moulting parents, bringing their total of rescued African penguin chicks in their Nursery and Chick Rearing Unit to 45.
These chicks require a lot of food and medication. SANCCOB is appealing to anyone who would like to help support these baby chicks to please donate via their website: https://sanccob.co.za/donate.php
During moulting season, which lasts about 35 days, the feathers on a bird are replaced. This is necessary because penguin feathers deteriorate over time and cannot perform vital functions like forming an insulating barrier between the bird and its cold marine environment or aiding in the incubational processes of eggs and in the survivorship of newly hatched chicks at nest sites.
During this period, penguins are land-bound for about 21 days until their new feathers form an effective insulation so that they return back to sea long enough to replenish lost fat reserves. According to Cape Nature, by the time a penguin returns to sea, it weighs only 46% of what it did compared to when it came ashore.
“Moulting penguins usually congregate and remain motionless at the shoreline or landing stages at the colony during this summer occurrence,” explains Cape Nature.
“Once the moulting phase is complete the penguin leaves the shoreline and has to return to the ocean and compete for dwindling food resources. They are absent from the colony for a period of about six weeks at sea recovering from the moult fast.”
Picture: Screenshot from video