I'll be gnawing on your finger

Trip Start Jan 05, 2009
Trip End Mar 12, 2009

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Flag of South Africa  , Western Cape,
Saturday, February 14, 2009

The alternate title for this blog was "7 costume changes and 1 new glove" but i liked the Police reference much better.
My enthusiasm for SANCCOB was renewed on my days off and i looked forward to going back. It turned out to be a really busy day on Friday since i was in ICU with a new volunteer and he left mid day to go on the release of 4 penguins. i was excited for him to see the penguins release but i was nervous that Laura and i were the only volunteers left to work with the birds. It's a good thing that i know how to do almost everything with the birds now (i even learned how to give medication on the fly yesterday). Being in ICU means that you could have something every hour and there were 10 birds in there yesterday. That was rough but there are 4 penguins in ICU so i was able to work with the birds that i enjoy the most at SANCCOB which made me happy.
One of the ICU penguins (AP015) is oiled and came to us from Dyer Island. I was a bit nervous when i heard about him as i wondered if we would have an influx of oiled penguins but there's no alarm sounding just yet. Poor thing had flies on him when i wasn't working with him and he was understandably aggravated. Trying to pick him up was a game of "avoid the beak" like you can't imagine. And because he was older, he was stronger and the glove i was using had a hole right at the place where the point of his beak would penetrate my left index finger - OUCH! That called for a glove change and working with an oiled bird called for new oilskins and arm guards as well, thus necessitating the 7 costume changes to new slickers (aka oilskins) throughout the day.
another ICU pengin (AP014) was ridiculously strong and the true source of the finger gnawing reference. he squirmed from my grasp a few times and made tube feeding and giving fish an all new challenge for me. he kept moving and i kept losing control of his beak. the pointy tip would dig into my left index finger and when i wrestled it free, he would chew on my index finger. it was really painful and my partner for the morning always knew when i was feeding 014. i didn't have to work with him today (Saturday) but my finger was chewed a few times by the other penguins and it's sore.

the best part of Friday was when we received 3 penguin chicks and since i was in ICU, i was able to stay and help with the formula and be around to take photos. the chicks were all very different sizes and i wanted to name them Huey, Dewey and Louie but apparently it's bad luck to name them when they are this young. oops! one was so young that it barely had its eyes open and it chirped a few times before falling asleep. the middle one was super active and climbed on the older chick's back a few times. her flipper was too narrow to put an ID tag on so AP020 will just have to grow into that. the older chick was so funny looking. the feathers on its head were in patches so he had black and white areas. his eyes were wide open, he was active and very bright and he did not take well to being crawled on by the middle one. it's not certain if any of these chicks are from the same clutch but i look forward to seeing them again. they live at Cheryl's house when they are this young so she can feed them every few hours and despite the fact that Cheryl has 80 cats (that is not a typo folks), i am going to have to take an allergy pill and get over there to see my babies again. they are just too cute!
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Where I stayed
Aviva House

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