Cape Royds Nest Check 2013-14

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. The ocean was close and the food plentiful. Every season presents new mysteries to solve, join us as the 2013-14 season unfolds.

Click HERE to see archived penguin family histories, and weather statistics, from 2011 and 2012.

Today is the last day of our 2013-14 Nest Check. Many of the chicks have joined creches and will soon be on their own. We have pulled down our tents and moved back to our laboratory at McMurdo Research Station. Our ten nests produced 13 big healthy chicks (77%), a little bit over the average for the colony (50%) so we are pleased. Come back next November for a whole new season at Cape Royds with new penguin families and new adventures.


Cape Royds Nest Check | Bird Biography-Nest History

Click HERE to see the Weather Archives

Jan 17 +1.0 17 993 winds from SW, sunny
Jan 16 +1.0 17 993 winds from SW, sunny
Jan 15 0.0 5 998 winds from S, sunny
Jan 14 0.0 2 1000 winds from W, sunny


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

Nest #1 Male, band #4697
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This male is 7 years old, and has had nests before at Cape Royds. His nest is near the entrance to the colony form the sea ice and surrounded by about 12 other nests. The male's name is Deandre and the females name is Nikki. These penguins were named by Kristen Bert's class in Washington DC.

Nest #2 Male, band # 4235, Female, band #6550

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This male was in our study last year and raised 2 chicks. He is in the Home Ranch breeding group at the same nest location and has a new mate. There are 2 eggs. His name is JJ from last year and his new mate is named Oreo from Sarah Hojnicki. Oreo also has a band. Her number is 6550 and she is 4 years old. This is her first nest.

Nest #3 Female, band # 4870

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This female is 6 years old and had a successful nest last year in the same location. She is new to our study and has a very protected location near a large rock. This pair has been named by Reinhard Marx and his class in Germany. The male is Rico and the female is Aische.
Nest #4 Male, band #6291
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This is a 5 year old male and may be his first time with a successful nest. He is in the Rocks South breeding group and protected by many large rocks from Skua attacks. He and his partner have been named Snowy and Blackie by the students at Jackie Rapp's class at the Akiba Schechter Jewish Day School in Chicago, IL. One egg was lost but the second one hatched on Dec 26, and has been named by Emily Perry's class at Oakland Mills Middle School in Howard Co. MD. His name is Jalapeno.

Nest #5 Male, band # 4999

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Male #4999 is 6 years old and is new to our study. His name is Icarus, after the Greek hero who was the first human who attempted to fly (and failed). He is named by Effie Kyrikakis' class in Athens, Greece. This is an exposed nest in the HIll breeding group, but they have a couple of larger rocks near by to help protect from Skua attacks. The female has been named Laurel by Julie Haylor's class at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, OH.
Nest #6 Male, band #929
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This male has been in our study for a few years, is now 15 years old and always rasies at least one chick. He is still in the same breeding group, but in a new nest location with a new mate. His name is Squirt who was named last year by Jennifer Ersler's class at Grayslake MS in Grayslake IL. His mate has been named Eleanor by Mr Hooper's class at Charles Ellis Montessori Academy in Savannah GA. The chick has been named Sheldon by Jennifer Erslers class at Grayslake MS in Grayslake IL.
Nest #7 Female, band # 4337
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Band #4337 belongs to a 7 year old female who is new to our study, but has been breeding at Cape Royds for a few years. She and her mate are in the Center Field breeding group and have a well protected nest. She is close to #4944 so we can watch them together. They have been named Max and Mia by the children at the Episcopal Day School in Paris TX.
Nest #8 Female, band # 1902
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We have replaced Nest #8, band #4944 with a new pair. Nest #4944 has failed due to a fight in the area which scattered the eggs (see Journal entry Dec 2, 2103). This new female band #1902 is about 14 years old and has made her nest in the Corral breeding group for several years. We will keep the names.  Her name is Mordovia and was named by Mikhail Timonin's students in the Tarkhanovo Secondary School in the Republic of Mordovia, Russia. The male has been named Jackson by Lorraine Leo's class at Jackson School in Newton, MA.
Nest #9 Female band #5176  
penguin penguin nests
This female is 6 years old and had a nest last year in the same location. She is in the Corral breeding group on a flat area with about 30 other nests around her. This pair has been named by Ellen Bergstom's class at Grayslake MS in Grayslake IL. The female is Opal and the male is Hershey.
Nest #10 Male, band #5000  

penguin nests

Nest #10 is a banded male 6 years old and has been seen around the colony for 3 years. His nest is in the Hilton breeding group on a slope facing the ocean. It is a good location and he is surrounded by other birds to help fend off the Skuas. These birds have been named by Vanessa Navis class in Cedar Grove WI. The female is Madison and the male is Tacky.








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Picture of the Day. If you would like to see all the pictures from this year go HERE.
Jan 17, 2014 LAST PICTURE of the season.


penguin chick

Biggest Chick. Although this is not one of our chicks, it was the biggest chick in the colony on our last day at Cape Royds. You can see he has started to molt from the wooly chick feathers into the waterproof adult feathers. Soon he will be able to stay warm and dry in the ocean and get his own food.
Daily pictures of each nest . To see all the past pictures click on the nest #

Nest #1 Deandre and the 2 chicks.

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Nest #2 JJ is on the nest, our chick is sleeping
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Nest #3 The nest is empty, both parents have left, Jan 13, 2104
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Nest #4 Snowy and Blackie are on the nest and the chick is gone. Jan 14, 2013.
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Nest #5 Icarus is on the nest, one of the chicks is getting fed.
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Nest #6 Eleanor, and Sheldon.
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Nest #7 Mia is near the nest, our two chicks are there too.
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Nest #8 Jackson is on the nest, 1 chick.

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Nest #9 Opal is near the nest, our two chicks there too.
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Nest #10 Tacky is here, both chicks are doing well.
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