In March last year, we wrote this article about the installation of nest boxes to protect Little penguins at Low Head. The nest boxes were installed by students from three George Town schools as part of a community wide project coordinated by the Friends of Low Head Penguin Colony. (The Friends were formed following a series of dog attacks that killed more than 100 penguins).

We are delighted to report that the deployment of nest boxes has significantly contributed to the colony’s recovery with more than 90% of the nest boxes having been used for breeding and/or moulting since the project began.¬†

The 2023/24 breeding season is coming to a close, with just a few chicks left in the colony. A survey of the nest boxes in early January recorded more than 20 chicks present, often as a pair, indicating a good breeding season for the birds.

A recent visit in early February recorded just 5 chicks, with the others having left the colony as soon as their waterproof feathers had grown. It is expected that the last of the chicks will leave the colony before the end of February. Some moulting adults were present in nest boxes, and there were plenty of old moulted feathers flying around the colony in recent days.

The birds are ashore for almost 3 weeks during moult, and they cannot go to sea to feed – so it’s a quiet time ashore while the old feathers are replaced with new feathers for the coming winter.

Pictures taken at Low Head 6 February, ©Eric J Woehler.