The Yellow-eyed
Penguin Trust

News & Events

Codfish Island survey

The resurvey of Codfish/Whenua Hou has been completed by Sandy King (Projects Officer Southern Islands) with assistance from DOC staff Dave Houston (Auckland) and Dean Nelson (Twizel), both very experienced yellow-eyed penguin people in their previous roles with DOC.

The 2001 survey found 61 breeding pairs; the 2009 survey found 46 breeding pairs.

If you add on a 15% margin of error for ‘missed nests’, that is still only 53 breedng pairs, down 15% from the 2001 survey.

We still need to find out WHY.

Comment from Dave: “Codfish, with the removal of pest species and the addition of a few new birds, is even better than I remember from my first amazing trip there 28 years ago, although the hills have apparently got steeper. Thanks to Sandy King and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust for the opportunity to take part in this fantastic trip, and to Dean for bringing the scotch.”

(Thanks Dave for the awesome photos!)


The Trust-sponsored yellow-eyed penguin census of Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) found off the north-west coast of Stewart Island) commenced mid-November 2001.

It was important the Trust conduct this survey of this predator-free island. When results are compared to those of the neighbouring Stewart Island, it may assist us in finding out whether feral cat predation is a significant factor in the low numbers of yellow-eyed penguins on Stewart Island.

The Trust’s projects officer, David Blair, and other experienced volunteers carried out a nest search to find 61 productive nests in three main breeding areas. Following the nest search, a series of beach counts was completed. The results for Whenua Hou were very positive this year, as the numbers of juveniles and non-breeding adult penguins give promise of a secure future for this breeding location.


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