What it takes to be a successful mate
Ryan is an adult male Magellanic penguin named after a Dr. Pepper-loving, UK-hailing engineer at Experiment. With this funding, we were able to put a GPS satellite tag on Ryan during both the 2012 and 2013 breeding seasons to track his whereabouts while foraging at sea. We learned how far he swam, how deep he dove, and how long he was away from his hungry chicks.
Ryan was banded as an adult and lived in the same bush nest with the same mate for both the 2012 and 2013 breeding seasons. The pair reared two chicks in both years. By tracking Ryan at sea, we learned that he foraged within about 100 km of his nest on most of his trips. His trips were shorter when his chicks were small; some as close as 50 km offshore. Ryan’s trips became progressively longer as the chicks grew, with his longest recorded trip reaching about 160 km from the colony at the end of December. Ryan is a remarkable penguin because he helped raise two chicks in two consecutive years while still maintaining his health.
October 19, 2013
Ryan’s mate laid two eggs and took the first incubation stint. Ryan relieved her in early November and by late November, when their first egg started to hatch, they were trading off incubation duties regularly.
November 24, 2013
The first chick hatched and the second hatched three days later. Both chicks grew rapidly, although the first chick was three days older and had a considerable head start on growth.
December 10, 2013
The #1 chick weighed 1.02kg and the #2 chick weighed 0.515kg, but they were both being fed consistently. We gave Ryan a GPS logger because the chicks both looked healthy and he was a healthy weight at 4.3kg.
January 5, 2013
Ryan had his GPS logger removed on January 5th and weighed 4.3kg, the same as when we put the tag on. He maintained his weight while swimming hundreds of kilometers and feeding two growing chicks.
February 12-22, 2013
The #1 chick weighed 3.5kg at its last measurement and fledged on the 12th of February. The #2 chick weighed 3kg at its last measurement and fledged on the 19th of February. Ryan looked healthy when we saw him for the final time this season on the 22nd of February.