Cape Royds Nest Check 2014-15

Cape Royds is a small colony of about 2100 nests. It has declined in size since 2000, when there were 4000 nests. The decline was due to a large iceberg that grounded about 60 km (40 miles) north and caused McMurdo Sound to be completely ice covered. This made it difficult for Royds penguins, who had to walk much longer distances than they like. Therefore, many penguins left Royds to find nests in colonies closer to open water. In 2007 water was much closer, only a few kilometers away, penguins started to return to Cape Royds. In 2008, the open water was again about 75 km away and the penguins had to walk further to get here, many decided not to, and there were fewer nests. About half of the nests that were started were lost as the brooding parent could not wait for the foraging parent to return. Hunger forced them to abandon the eggs.

The open water was about a 2km from the colony at the start of the 2009 season and made it much easier for the penguins to reach the colony, but for some reason egg laying was delayed by several days. This also delayed hatching and meant that many chicks would not be ready when the winter conditions closed in. In the 2011 season we had the biggest chicks we have ever seen as the ocean was close and was plentiful. The 2013-14 season also provided early open water so it was a good year for the penguins, but we saw more Skuas than usual and predation was heavy. Every season presents new mysteries to solve, join us as the 2014-15 season unfolds.

Click HERE to see archived weather histories, HERE to see penguin families from 2011 and 2012. and 2013



Cape Royds Nest Check | Bird Biography-Nest History

Click HERE to see 2014-2015 Weather Archives

Dec 17

variable, clear then snow, winds from N

Dec 16
overcast, calm, winds from S
Dec 15
clear, calm, winds from NW
Dec 14
overcast, calm, winds from SW

There is still time to get a postcard from Antarctica, go HERE for details, go HERE to see postcards from previous years.

Click on any picture to see a larger version or the Nest # to learn more about the penguin family.

Nest #1 Band #1050 Male
This male raised chicks the last two years and has been in our study before. He has made a strong nest very near the same spot in the Corral breeding groups as last year and we hope his mate will return. Hatched in 2001, he is 13 years old and has been named Blackie by the children in Vonda Dahl's class at Wing Public School, North Dakota. His mate is Snowy by the same class

Nest #2 Band #4355, Male (This nest pictures start Dec 3,2014) Look for them right in front in the picture below.

Toby and Sarah are gone, Dec 2, 2014. An agressive bird took over the nest, the eggs were scattered and lost. We are going to follow this pair now and hope they will do better in keeping the eggs safe and raising their chicks. This is an 8 year old banded male, #4355 and his mate. We do not know when the eggs were laid, but we believe around Nov 18. They are in the Centerfield breeding group and close to Nest #10. Look for them in the front of the picture above. They have been named by Susan Withnell's class at Linton Springs School, Sykesville, MD. They are Luke and Tess. Dec 17, the first chick has hatched and he has been named Walden by Suzanne Tef's 1st grade class, Walden Academy, Willows. CA. Dec 18, the second chick has hatched and is named Fluffy, also by Ms. Tef's class.


Nest #3 Band #3943, Female

This female is 10 years old and rasied her first chicks in 2009-10. We have seen her before and she is in the exact same nesting site as last year. We will follow her and her mate as they raise their chicks. Her name is Mathilda and her mate's name is Bob. They were named by Reinhard Max's class in Sudern, Germany.
Nest #4 Band #4627, Male
This male is 8 years old and waited several days in his nest for the female to arrive. We saw her first on Nov 16th.Their nest is in the Centerfield breeding group and they raised one chick last year. The nest is protected from Skuas by some large rocks so we hope they will be successful this year. His name is Percy and his mate is Snowflake. They were named by Jan Patterson's class at Gaspe Elementary School Gaspe Quebec.

Nest #5 Band #29809, Male

This banded male is 7 years old. He was sighted at Cape Royds last year, but failed to raise a family. This year he appeared in the same location as last year and has found a mate. Their nest is in Seaview group and is an open area with little protection from the Skuas besides each other. They are Oreo and PeeWee named by Ms LaCosta's 4th grade class at Parkview Elementary School, Lamar, CO
Nest #6 Band #5000, Male
This banded male is 7 years old and has been seen in the colony before. The Hilton breeding group is a new location for him which shows that penguins do not always return to the same nest. We only know this because of our banding program. His mate showed us her two eggs on Nov 18th. The male is named Karlsson by the children in Jackie Rapp's class, Chicago IL. His mate is Momo named by the children in Emily Perry's class at Thomas Viaduct MS, MD
Nest #7, band # 4337, Female
This female is 8 years old and was in our study last year. She raised chicks the last three years so we hope she and her mate can do it again. They have a very good nest in the 'Center Field' nesting group close to the center where it will be hard for the Skuas to get to them. The female is named Emma and the male is Henry. They were adopted by the children at Episcopal Day School in Paris TX. Dec 13: the first chick has hatched, Dec 14, the second chicks has hatched. Their names are WInter and Midnight, provided by the 4th grade classes at Scott Elementary School, Scott Air Force Base, IL.
Nest #8 Band #4870, Female
This pair was in our study last year and raised chicks. They have a wonderful nest close to a big rock for protection against the Skuas. The banded female is 7 years old. The nest is located in the Centerfield breeding group and they are near the cliffs. The male has been named Jackson by Lorraine Leo's class in Jackson School, Newton, MA. The female is Mordovia, named by Mikhail Timonin's students in the Tarkhanovo Secondary School, Republic of Mordovia, Russia.
Nest #9 Band #5219, Male
The banded male is 7 years old and has been seen in the colony before very near where he decided to build his nest this year. We frist saw his mate on Nov 8 and first sighted eggs on Nov 19th. The nest is in the Centerfield breeding group and near some big rocks so they should be protected from the Skuas. The female has been named Carrie by the VASA explorers in Ms. Given's Class, Fresno, CA. The male is now Buddy, named by Sandy Sullivan's class at Kuss Middle School, Fall River, MA.
Nest #10 Band #4872, Female

This banded female is 7 years old and is in the Centerfield breeding group near the cliffs. She and her mate are near the edge of the group but have several birds around them to help fend off the Skuas. She has raised chicks the last two years in the same area. The male has been named Waddles by the children in Judy Barrere's class at Holy Family School in Kirkland, WA. The female will be called Happy Feet and was named by Ms Refern's and Monica Heath's 3rd graders at Nikiski Elementary School in North Star, Alaska. Dec 16, one chick has hatched, Dec 17 the second chick has hatched. They have been named Austin and Flippy by the students in Kyle Runfola's class, Rm 16, Stamford, CT.








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Picture of the Day. If you would like to see all the pictures from this year go HERE.

Dec 17, 2014

The Colors of Antarctica. This is the white continent. They call it that because 98% of it is covered in snow or ice. You add Adelie penguins and a splash of black appears now and then. No greens, no yellows, red or orange. No purple or brown. Although you may say it is a colorless place, look at the above picture and count how many shades of white you see. The colors of Antarctica abound. If you would like to see more pictures of Antarctic landscapes go HERE.


Daily pictures of each nest . To see all the past pictures click on the nest #

Nest #1

Blackie is on the nest with 2 eggs,
Nest #2
Tess, and the second chick has hatched! HAPPY BIRTHDAY. This chick is named Fluffy. Luke has returned to the nest and is standing outside the picture, we are glad he is back, and know he will take over the nest soon.
Nest #3
Mathilda is on the nest with 2 eggs.
Nest #4
Percy is on the nest, 2 eggs. Do you see what I see? Perhaps we will have a chick tomorrow.
Nest #5
PeeWee is on the nest with 2 eggs.
Nest #6
Karlsson is back and on the nest with two eggs.
Nest #7 .
Emma is on the nest, Midnight and Winter are growing.

Nest #8

Mordovia is on the nest, two egg.
Nest #9

Buddy is back and on the nest 1 egg.

Nest #10

Waddles is on the nest, Austin is getting a meal..