Penguins make their screen debut

02:47, Sep 04 2011
dave chadfield
PENGUIN WATCH: Dave Chadfield in his Chaddy's Charters store where he has set up a live camera feed from a penguin nest nearby.

Happy Feet may be on his way home to the Southern Ocean but there are plenty more of the flightless birds nesting at Chaddy's Charters in New Plymouth.

Port Taranaki chartered lifeboat owner Dave Chadfield said blue penguins first settled in some old pipes near his shop 21 years ago. But now their nesting activities can be seen on a big screen, thanks to funding from the George Mason Charitable Trust and Nga Motu Marine Reserve Society.

It has paid for a camera which is filming one nest with a live feed back to a screen in Chaddy's Charters shop.

"The schoolkids come in and have a look and think it's just great.

"It's all about learning about the penguins' behaviour and teaching others about it."

Many penguins had come and gone over the years and yesterday there were three sitting on eggs.

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Mr Chadfield said the camera also helped him keep an eye on their welfare.

"They are a bit earlier with their laying this year by about two weeks."

He said the activeness of the penguins was fascinating, and he finds himself wandering downstairs from his lounge to the shop at all hours to see what they're up to.

It was Chaddy's old dog, Suzie, who discovered the birds two decades ago.

"She was acting strangely around the pipes not long after I opened the shop so I stuck my head in and there was a family of penguins staring back at me."

Anyone and everyone is welcome to view the penguins live on screen at the shop.

"It's all part of eco-tourism really and it's great for people to get to know more about how penguins live.

"They're fascinating little things," he said.

Taranaki Daily News