P7 was found in the middle of the day walking along the ocean’s edge, apparently looking for someone, anyone, to feed her—be it a penguin, seagull or human.
Weighing only 410 grams (less than a can of beans) P7 looked only two to three weeks old but was more likely five to six weeks old. She had an extremely heavy infestation of ticks, fleas, lice and round worms. As a result she was severely anaemic and it took her a good month to recover from this, during which she started to fledge.
Due to poor nutrient intake during her early growth, P7 remained undersized for a long time and poor feather development has meant she is not yet waterproof (and therefore not releasable). She will likely remain in care until her first moult, probably around February or March 2020.
Although not yet waterproof, she loves swimming and is very quick and agile in the water, despite her stubby little tail.
Due to her love of swimming, P7 is tough to get out of the pool. As she starts to get waterlogged (because not yet waterproof), she sinks lower in the water and so spends a lot of her time diving. She has also taught herself to swim backstroke and sidestroke to keep her head above water in order to take breaths between dives.
Having lived in care for longer than in the wild, P7 doesn’t suffer from the stress that other birds coming in do—although she does find humans irritating. As she is in long-term care, she has taken on the role of companion for new penguins that come into care, which is important in relieving stress for these social birds.
P7 bonded with P1 after he came out of moult. He was very paternal towards her—keeping guard, disciplining her, and teaching her to preen properly (by example). When in the pool together, he would swim around the edge of the pool, looking up over the combing if she started to have difficulties. This was a behaviour he had previously learnt would bring me to his aid when he was not waterproof.
P7 is prone to expressing her displeasure by vocalizing (similar to a bark) and/or biting. She will go up to the enclosure wall and bark if someone on the other side of the fence is making more commotion than she can tolerate.