An exhausted little blue penguin, washed up on Nelson's Tahunanui Beach, landed in just the right place.
Beach visitors who found the fledgling brought him to nearby Natureland Zoo, where staff took him in under its rescue and release programme for native and seabirds.
They fed him on fish, courtesy of NZ King Salmon and Sealord, and on Monday released him back to where he was found.
"He looked at us, gave us a wave and headed out to sea," said Natureland operations manager Gail Sutton.
Another fluffy baby penguin, which had come out of its nest too soon to be able to fish, was found among the flotsam against the seawall by Rocks Rd.
He, too, is being looked after until he can survive on his own and will be released by the Sealord Rescue Centre.
Three other guests at Natureland are fairy prions, which usually live in the outer islands, especially Stephens Island, where they share tuatara's burrows.
Because the seabirds need to go back there, on Wednesday they were booked on an Amaltal fishing boat trip to be released near French Pass.
A shining cuckoo, also nursed back to health after flying into a window at Atawhai, has just been returned to the residents who found it, so it can be released there.
- The Nelson Mail
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