The Story of a Rescued Penguin

Albie was brought into the Unit on 14 Feb 1995. Weighing just 700 grams, he was released fit and healthy at the end of March, weighing 1150 grams.

He's certainly Viv's favourite penguin and he proved to be a real character.

Click here for a 52k jpeg of Albie.



Little Blue Penguin "Eudyptula minor". Also known as Korora

Date Captured:

26 February 1995

Location Captured:

Days Bay Beach on beach next to Cowdrey's property

Person Reporting:

Maureen Lewis

Band Number:


Admission Weight:


Release Weight:



N/A (Juvenile)

Rehab Unit No:

14 "Albie"


White edging apparent on flippers after cleaning, small black beak, immature bird but unable to define by plumage due to oil.


This bird was covered in thick black oil from head to toe. Eyes bright but bird very passive. No obvious injuries other than torn 3rd toenail on right foot. Very underweight. Breast bone very prominent and skin very loose around body.



16:00 Bird caught on Days Bay beach. Minimum stress catch, Rosalie walked straight up to it and threw a damp towel over it. Very little resistance to being handled.

16:05 Fed 1/2 Titralac tablet and 0.3ml glucose mixture orally by syringe to start flushing system and reduce shock.

16:10 Bird placed in a bucket of warm water with feet touching bottom and the washing began. Used Sards Wonder Soap and Flex Extra Body Balsam and Protein shampoo. Soap massaged into body and water changed frequently to get rid of excess oil. A very slow and painstaking job! Cleaned most of the oil off within 3 hour period using 175ml shampoo and 1/2 cake of soap. Oil difficult to remove from around facial area as we did not want to get soap in eyes. Bird rinsed under warm shower and put in plastic tub to swim rest out. The bird was very co-operative during this time but started to get very cold.

Wrapped in a warm towel and held till it heated up and then placed into a cage with a warm hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to dry off. Bird lay down and went to sleep.

20:00 Opened eyes when light put on and stood up. Fed 1 pilchard soaked in warm water, glucose and titralac. Fed 0.08ml Vibravet antibiotic in fish, fed co-operatively.

21:45 Fed 8ml glucose and 1/2 titralac tablet mixed with a drop of cod liver oil orally by syringe. Penguin finally excreted. Excrement dark green indicating living off body fat. Pellets of oil evident, coagulated and greasy. Box placed upstairs so I could listen if lung problems occurred - chest sounds very wheezy.


01:00 Fed 1 3/4 pilchards with 1/2 titralac soaked in warm water. Bird very hungry but bright and alert. Body temperature normal to touch. Fed cop-operatively from the right and enjoyed being preened and cuddled.

06:45 Fed 1 pilchard soaked in warm water. Excrement more normal looking - a tinge of white now apparent. Pellets of oil still evident. Bird still quiet and co-operative. Feathers are very dry to touch - papery feeling and feet very dry. Eyes reddish around rim and crusty - probably due to effects of soap. Eye ointment applied to each eye - Achromycin. Moved into a large box outside with sea water available voluntarily.

12:00 Bird found outside in run. Fed 45g of sliced gurnard, with 0.08 Vibravet antibiotic. Fed co-operatively. Eye ointment applied to both eyes - Achromycin. Redness of the eye irritation no longer evident. 15:00 Found outside in run, bird fed by Ineke. Alert, impudent and ungrateful. Eating well and able to manouevre food back provided pieces not too large. Achromycin applied to both eyes. Ate appx 30g fish (cod) and indicated it had had enough. Remainder blew away and hence covered in sand. Duck just squeezed inside and told to get outside or else! Ineke has made two models of penguin outfits for feeding birds, "Dior" a drawstring and toggle, and "Cardin" an elastic model. However she didn't manage to dress the penguin in either outfit.

17:30 Bird preening and alert - looks like he will make it! Bird sat on lap and preened and stroked (cod liver oil rubbed into hands first). Feet painted with cod liver oil. Enjoys the contact of preening. Fed 30g gurnard slices with 1/2 titralac tablet, and Achromycin applied to both eyes. Eyes no longer crusty to touch.

21:30 Bird brought inside for the night as air temperature dropping due to southerly.


03:00 Fed 85 grms Kawhai slivers with a pinch of seasalt. Bird now more active when being fed. Excrement has very little green now, indicating food is being digested rather than the bird living off body fat. Oil pellets still apparent. Achromycin ointment applied to both eyes.

06:30 Put back outside into garden with shelter from the rain. Excrement now mainly white with only a little oil present - we are winning.

10:20 Ineke found the bird in night quarters. Too obstreperous to take more than 25 grms fish. Salt added and Vibravet antibiotic. and given eye ointment. Gave her the fingers when she left. Felt warm to touch and got so worked up Ineke left him outside as he was warm enough.

15:45 Ineke found him in the garden. Ate about 20 grms fish. Achromycin in his jaundiced eyes. Boy was he MAD. Took his christening robe home for a wash.

17:05 Bird had been using the salt water made available - Chest wet and feathers softer to touch. Fed 30 grms slivered cod with Vibravet antibiotic and pinch of seasalt in warm water. Sat and was preened. Feet painted with Cod Liver Oil. Achromycin ointment applied to both eyes.


01:10 Fed 50 grms slivered cod with pinch of sea salt. Fed co-operatively.

08:00 Fed 100grms slivered cod with 1/2 Titralac Tablet and 1/2 Mazun Tablet in warm water. Very hungry this morning. No oil present in excrement today. Bird pecking at wire when put back into cage. Has 'skinned' the top off his beak.

09:15 Taken to Taita Veterinary Clinic - seen by Selena. Chest checked apparently normal. Eyes also checked. Able to discontinue the eye ointment. 0.01 ml Ivomec given orally. Toe also checked - no infection present. Advised to continue with antibiotics for another 4 days. Steve (vet) concerned about low body weight.

13:00 Fed 100 grms kawahai slivers, pinch of kelp, seasalt and spirulina. with Vibravet antibiotic. Weighed 1000 grms - a good weight increase.

16:00 Fed 100grms Cod with pinch of salt. Let run around for exercise.

18:40 Fed 40 grms Cod.

20:45 Fed 45 grms cod Put in bathroom overnight because of beak damage on wire and no other temporary caging to hand.

22:30 Bathroom looks like a bomb has hit it. Penguin had been swimming in his pond and there was water everywhere. Albie was soaking wet. Cleaned up mess with Albie happily preening in the middle of the mayhem.


06:15 Cleaned bathroom - not so messy this morning. Albie had been swimming again. Now begging for food. Flippers out from body pointing sharply backwards. Fed 100grms cod with Vibravet antibiotic. Preening behaviour now more evident.

12:15 Ineke - excrement very very messy but in the right place next to the toilet bowl (twice). Ate 100grms Kahawai and salt. Head and chest dipped in water to clean him of the fish and dried him. Shook and preened. Fascinated by the flora in the bathroom - took blue towel home for wash.

17:45 Fed 150grms Kahawai with pinch salt. Very co-operative, begging with flippers outstretched and mouth gaping. Got very excited when he saw the feeding cup.

18:15 Ate 80 grms cod and still begged and stamped his feet. Put to bed at 20:30 as walked into bathroom of own accord.


03:00 Fed 100 grms Kahawai - had been swimming. Bathroom awash.

07:15 50 grms Kahawai. Cleaned out the bathroom which resembled a bomb site. Excrement now white and clear. - sign of a healthy bird.

12:30 (Ineke) He ate all that fish - 110 grms and salt and managed to take it from my hand when held out above his head. Followed every step as I cleaned the floor. Excreta copious and water soluble. He wanted to come after me and just about fell fast asleep on his feet.

17:30 Fed 100 grms red cod with Vibravet antibiotic, fed co-operatively, begging. Put out on seaside while bathroom cleaned out. Given a swim in outside bath for 2 - 3 minutes. Was wet through but at least had a good clean. Weighed 1115 grms.


06:30 Fed 100 grms Red Cod not such a mess to clean up this morning. Coat looking a lot better after the bath. Fell asleep behind the toilet after a walk around.

09:45 Put out in road side garden - took him about 10 minutes before he was confident enough to explore on his own - came in through the dog kennel cat door and went to the bathroom.

13:00 Taken to the sea side for some exercise and fenced in for 1 1/2 hours to begin to get him used to more space. Took quite some time for him to explore freely.

14:40 Fed 100 grms (1 pilchard and rest Red Cod) Vibravet antibiotic. Given a swim and left outside on street side garden.

18:25 Albie asleep in the burrow.

21:30 Fed 25 grms Pilchards. Had moved into the dog kennel. Slept in the bathroom for the night due to potential stray cat problem - Humane trap set - bait gone but no cat.


06:30 Fed 100 grms (1 pilchard rest Red Cod) Put outside went straight to the dog kennel.

10:00 Still in kennel - came racing out soon as he saw me. Cleaned up mess in the bathroom.

13:30 Fed 100 grms Red Cod with Pinch of salt - came inside for some exercise on the climbing apparatus we have set up to improve his co-ordination which is very poor.

18:30 Fed 25 grms fish with vibravet antibiotic - has worked out that the kennel has another entrance into the house - headed straight to the bathroom.

22:45 Hole blocked up (outside door on kennel) Humane cat cage set.


06:15 Found Albie in the bath covered in hair shampoo. He had climbed in and couldn't get out because of the slipperiness of the soap. He was really upset. Had to wash him in warm water to remove the soap - all his waterproofing has gone out the window! Rinsed him under the shower. Fed 100 grms cod - hopefully it will help flush the soap out of him if he has ingested any while preening.

11:45 (Ineke) Ate his fish dutifully, gave me a hearty welcome and was enticed out of his dog kennel. Dipped him briefly - no objections. When I was inside preparing his food it sounded as though he was using a jemmy to open the cat door. Was happy and loving.

17:00 Fed 125 grms Red cod - came hurtling out of the kennel as soon as I arrived and has been playing follow the leader ever since. Gave him a salt water bath.

19:30 (Rosalie) Fed 50 grms cod.

22:15 Locked in the bathroom - managed to open the door by himself during the night and made a huge racket. Let him run around on his climbing apparatus and left him outside in the kennel overnight as no evidence of the cat being an issue.


02:00 Checked - OK - no stray cat issues - sitting outside in the garden.

07:00 Fed 75grms Kahawai - still out in the garden.

11:45 (Ineke) Noisy welcome Ate ravenously - dipped briefly which he objected to. Insisted on coming inside, swore at me - I like him!

18:15 Fed 100 grms Cod and salt with 2 pilchards (100grms) seemed slightly apprehensive this evening and wanted to stay in his house.

21:30 Standing in his house looking sheepish - have unlocked the other end so he can get away from cats if necessary.

23:45 Put outside and hole blocked up - was making a huge racket and getting into everybody's business - including trying to climb the stairs.


03:15 Scrabbling at the front door to get in - Albie knocking.. Let him in for a while to go on his climbing machine - he is determined to stay inside and runs away like a rocket when you catch him to put him outside.

06:30 Furiously trying to get inside through kennel when any lights are put on. Came running around like a bolt of lightening as soon as the door is opened. Penguins can really move on land when they want to. Ate 85 grms gurnard and 1 pilchard. First evidence of a trill rather than his usual quack.

11:50 (Ineke) Ate 1 pilchard and fish - 80 grms. Initially spat the pilchard out but I spoke sharply to him and he got it down. He's become an urbanised penguin.

17:30 Fed 1 pilchard and 100 grms gurnard. He is becoming restless and turns in circles when you try to feed him He spent the night knocking at the front door trying to get in.


01:30 Got up because of the racket. When I opened the door he literally fell inside and rocketed off to the seaside door. Was in a very ratty mood and pecked me when I tried to pick him up. He is definitely moving towards more independent behaviour - even slightly aggressive.

11:45 (Ineke) Ate 60 grms fillet and almost all of the obnoxious bits of pilchards. Marilyn filmed him.

20:30 Heard Albie pecking at the door - wanting to be fed. Fed 170 grms cod and gurnard with salt and put him outside after preening him for a while. Weighed 1200 grms


08:00 Fed 50 grms cod and gave him a swim. Still not very waterproof, we will not be able to let him go this weekend.

11:30 (Ineke) Ate 65 grms gurnard Excreted copiously Waltzed around inside.

14:30 (Rosalie) Fed 100 grms Hoki.

19:30 Banded by Dave Bell - "Looks healthy and ready to be released." Measurements taken : Bill Length 34.9mm Bill depth 13.0mm.

21:15 Put out in dog kennel after feeding 100 grms Hoki with salt.

23:15 Brought inside and put in bathroom as weather has suddenly turned exceptionally bad.


06:30 Had sneaked in the cat door and was half way up the stairs. Fed 100 grms Hoki and put out into kennel.

10:00 Filmed by BBC South Bristol Television unit swimming in the Rehab pool and being fed. Very good footage as he was extremely co-operative. He is still not waterproof yet.

10:30 Fed 100grms Hoki and salt. Weighed 1 Kilo.

20:00 Fed 50 grms Hoki - almost asleep on his feet. Put into kennel.


07:10 Fed 150 grms Hoki and dunked in bath for a clean - ate very messily and greedily this morning.

12:30 (Ineke) Fed 80 grms Hoki and salt - her family visited. Albie very sociable and did a display of his climbing prowess.

21:00 Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt brought in out of the weather into the bathroom as it was exceptionally windy.

23:00 Weather has settled put him back outside.


06:30 Big quacks and excitement this morning Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt.

12:30 (Ineke) Albie ate all 80 grms and definitely wanted home comforts (weather appalling) I denied these - he is scared of the rain and the wind and quacked.

13:15 Filmed by BBC South Television Unit in house doing his climbing routine.

19:30 Fed by Ineke and allowed to run around.

23:00 Fed 100 grms Hoki - very windy outside - he really doesn't like bad weather.


07:00 Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt, ran inside like a rocket when door opened.

12:45 (Ineke) Fed 100 grms eagerly - inside following the builder.

17:30 Put out in seaside yard - very confident out here now - jumping up and down into the pool and over rocks. Had a swim in the duck pool - not very keen. Back is water proof but belly not. Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt and 1/2 Mazun tablet. Let him have a spell at his exercise machine.


07:00 Fed 100 grms Hoki - very fussy and difficult this morning probably because he has been cut back on the late night /early morning feed.

11:30 (Ineke) Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt. Despite my best efforts he came inside to watch me unloading the boxes etc. One small poo which I dealt with and started quacking the minute he heard the gate.

19:00 Fed 200 grms Hoki - ate all of it - very quiet afterwards - may be he has finally reached his limit.


05:30 Fed 180 grms Hoki and salt - again ate all of it - definitely needs the extra now that his feeds have been cut back to 3 per day. Has been scrabbling at the door since 4am. Went straight back to his house after feeding.

12:00 (Ineke) Great scrabbling and communication when I called to him from inside. Knows his name alright. Some 180 Hoki and salt grms taken - no trouble but went straight back into his kennel. No attempt to come inside. Took a while to coax him out as well.

17:30 Fed 100 grms Hoki - Didn't want to come out of his house - required coaxing.


08:30 Fed 80 grms Hoki - did not want any more - turned around and went into his house. - hope is not getting sick. Quacked when you approached his house but no attempt to come out at all.

13:10 (Ineke) Ate his 40-50 grms after greeting me but went straight back to his house. Being locked in today because of building activities - maybe that has upset him.

17:30 Checked - wouldn't come out of kennel when called but did quack.

20:00 Waltzed in of own accord through open door and had an explore around - quite happy and confident. Ate 50 grms Hoki very co-operatively then went back to house - didn't want the rest.


08:00 Ate greedily 75 grms Hoki ran around a while for exercise and when put outside went straight to kennel.

16:30 Let run around seaside yard - quite happy is getting very good at balance and climbing activity now. Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt Gave a brief swim - belly still not waterproof yet.

23:00 Very active tonight. Wandering around yard.


10:30 Fed 100 grms Hoki - filmed by Rosalie on video.

16:00 Fed 150 grms Hoki 1/2 Mazun tablet and salt. Practised his climbing put back into kennel for a sleep.

20:00 Fed 50 grms Hoki and salt.


07:00 Fed 100 grms Hoki 1/2 Mazun tablet. Swam to encourage preening behaviour.

11:00 (Ineke) Ate about 60 grms Hoki - very lively and entertaining. Doesn't mind the vacuum cleaner at all. Inside because of building.

17:30 Ate 100 grms Hoki and salt. Had a fine time with climbing practise. Quacking as soon as the gate is opened.


05:45 Fed 50 grms Hoki - waiting by the front door soaking wet. Zoomed around the lounge like a rocket and started on the stairs.

19:00 Fed 200 grms Hoki 1/2 Mazun tablet. Ate so much he was very quiet after a frenetic feeding frenzy - no lunchtime feed today.


07:00 Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt 1/2 Mazun tablet.

11:45 (Ineke) Albie ecstatic when we met today - I was ecstatic too. He ate 50 grms Hoki greedily but not as sloppily as usual. Thought he was making a totally different noise. Managed to keep him out of the house.

17:30 Fed 50 grms Hoki - very pleased to see me - climbing practise this evening.

19:40 Fed 50 grms Hoki - turning around madly in circles in between each piece of fish. Flippers extended back as far as they can go.


06:30 Ate very greedily this morning with a lot of snorting - possibly a cold starting? Ate 100 grms Hoki and salt with 1/2 Mazun tablet. He slept in this morning I had to call him to get a response.

13:45 (Ineke) He welcomed me with open flippers and much quacking. He had been listening to the Rolling Stones last night and was fatigued he informs me. I reckon he's in robust good health, just bored. Doesn't do a blind thing all day - doesn't get tired out. He needs an outward bound course. Fed 90 grms Hoki and pinch of salt.

18:45 Fed 110 grms Hoki and pinch of salt.


09:45 Fed 80 grms Hoki and salt and given swim in salt water pond.

13:30 Fed 100 grms Hoki salt and 1/2 Mazun Tablet.

18:45 Fed 110 grms Hoki and pinch of salt.


09:10 Rosalie and I have started to train Albie to come through the scupper from the seaside for feeding. He was very co-operative and had no problems squeezing through the pipe until he had eaten enough fish. Then he just sat in the middle - needed to poke him to make him come out. Started him from the very top rock only this time.

09:30 Swim time - filled the rehab pool for him. Took a while to get the confidence to go on his own, but soon was away playing preening rolling and scratching at his ears. Belly now waterproof. Put back into kennel.

13:30 Given a swim - quite confident now. Scupper training again managed to start to climb from two rocks down when called. Ate 100 grams Hoki 1/2 Mazun tablet.

20:30 Scupper training. Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt and swimming afterwards. Preening and sratching. Oil gland now very evident at base of tail.


08:30 Swam in Rehab pool able to get around well. Scupper training Fed 100 grms Hoki 1/2 Mazun.

14:30 Scupper training 100 Grms Hoki and swimming lesson. All accesses left open now to side yard so he has run of the property. Followed me back to his kennel through the side yard.

20:15 Fed 80 grms Hoki while scupper training - can come half way up the platform now when called. Left out overnight in the seaside yard


05:00 Outside near buttress. Came racing over soon as he saw me. Followed me back to his kennel and went inside.

06:30 Scupper training from almost the bottom hesitant but still coming when called. Has been wandering during the night through the side yard. Put back into kennel for sleep with all doors open.

13:30 Fed 100 grms Hoke & salt in sea side yard by the scuppers. He went straight back to the kennel after feeding.

18:45 Arrived in the kitchen and quacked. Scupper training - allowed him to wander on the beach. He showed no evidence of wanting to head off to sea. He experimented with several ways of getting up the platform to the top step. He was not so nervous tonight. There was no evidence of shaking. Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt. Left in the sea side yard with the pool full of water overnight.


06:45 Scupper training went well but he had the shakes again today. Didn't push him. He was in his kennel at first light and came out only when he saw the food dish. Fed 110 grms Hoki and salt. Came through the scupper hole without being called.

12:00 Ineke Fed 100 grms Hoki and salt. - well taken. Happy to go back into the kennel.

18:30 Scupper training - not very hungry this evening more interested in investigating than eating. Ate 60 grms Hoki and salt. Tried fresh herring but spat this out. Didn't want to come through the scupper at the end - turned around to head back to the beach. First overt sign that he is ready to leave.

Given a swim in the pool to encourage fitness. Lots of ducking, diving and preening. Should be able to release him tomorrow if the weather is fine.


06:30 Scupper training ate 100 grms Hoki and salt. Seemed somewhat apprehensive this morning - shaking evident. Shot into the bathroom at the first opportunity. Put outside into the kennel.

13:00 Ineke. Got no welcome. Had to look inside kennel. He was a bit reluctant to follow me to the scupper so he was carried. Then refused to have anything to do with 1/2 pilchard. Ate 100 grms hoki and salt and hurried back to his quarters. No thank you or anything. I have cut him out of my will.

18:40 Wandered out of his kennel and arrived in the seaside yard at 6:40pm. Weighed 1150 grms. Fed 2 small herrings whole, 100 grms Hoki 1/2 Mazun and 1/2 pilchard. Very co-operative feeding. Released this evening

Albie again! Click here for an 87k jpeg of Albie.



Released - scupper left open after feeding. We turned him to face it so that he realised that he was free to go if he wished. After 10 mins he went through and stood for about 5 mins on the top step - orientation. He is familiar with the platform. He took the shortest route down to the waters edge and swam around, ducking diving and rolling in the immediate vicinity for 10 minutes. Disappeared from sight at 8:10pm. Albie has the choice to return if he needs.


Last updated: August 18, 1996.

This page is maintained by Charlie Lear..

Copyright © 1995 - Charlie Lear
Wellington, New Zealand