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March 20, 2009

African penguin Reproduction: New Nest


“Howard” hatched on 11 January 2007.  He has developed a relationship with another young female in the exhibit and over the past few months they have established a territory together.  Today, I opened access to a new nesting area and observed their behavior.  Within ten minutes of opening the nest, he went into it to look around.  He started digging and rearranging nest material and has been braying with his girlfriend in their new home.  African penguins form stable bonds and are very specific about choice of nest location.  “Howard’s”  behaviors indicate he is learning the skills of an adult that will prove valuable in his future.  The nest is located behind the log in the exhibit, and “Howard” wears a light green band on his right wing.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 1:08 pm


  1. Hi, Howard! What a nice-looking young (penguin) man you are!

    Pam, I would love to see a pic and some info about Howard’s girlfriend. Thanks for all the work you do, I love coming to visit and have been several times.

    Comment by Jenifer — March 21, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  2. Hi Jenifer, “Safara” is “Howard’s” current mate. She has a red band on her left wing. There is a Blog about them in last year’s posts, with a photo of both of them together. I will also try to get a new photo of her on the site soon.

    Comment by pschaller — March 25, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  3. Hi Pam,

    How many nesting areas are there including other’s that you can open? Also, Dunker seems to be loosing more of his hair and also seems to have gotten bigger in the last month or so. I love Dunker…he has such personality.

    Comment by lynn — March 25, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  4. Hi Lynn, There are 9 available nest sites for sexually mature mated pairs (we currently have 4 mated pairs). There are also 4 penguins currently molting (all penguins replace their feathers once per year) they include “Pierre”, “Dunker”, “Domino” and “Adasha”.

    Comment by pschaller — March 26, 2009 @ 8:15 am

  5. Pam, I’ve been wondering why you don’t get a wetsuit that is designed like a penguin. You know, with a white front and black back?

    Hey, I saw you using a spray bottle squirting stuff into the water. What was that?

    Comment by Claudia Jelden — March 27, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  6. Hi Claudia, The wetsuit is designed for divers and biologists with all uses in mind. The penguins would not interpret the staff to be a penguin even if we dressed like them. The spray bottle has a dilute Dawn dishwashing soap solution in order to clean. We use mild detergents in the exhibit and Dawn in particular because it is used as the cleaning agent in the rehabilitation of birds subject to oil spills in the wild. It has proven to be a safe and effective solution under these conditions.

    Comment by pschaller — March 31, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  7. Hi Pam,

    This afternoon around 1pm (6/18), it seemed as though one of the males (with no visible armband) made a mating attempt (where he climbed up on another’s back, a female I assume, with a red armband)! There also seemed to be much commotion among the other penguins afterwards. There’s no need to go into great detail about it, but I would be interested in knowing a bit more about how mating effects the rest of the colony, socially, and how many of the 5 unmated pairs are doing in terms of their “penguin courtship.” Thanks for caring for these wonderful creatures — I enjoyed the visit very much!

    Comment by Elaine — June 19, 2009 @ 12:19 am

  8. Howard is irresistable !

    Comment by Andrys — August 26, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

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