This extremely rare penguin is only found along a small strip of the southwest coastline of the South Island of New Zealand. The parents nest in the dense rainforest, hiding their young from predators. One parent stays with the nest while the other goes out to sea to fish. The parent returning with food is greeted on the beach by their mate. Once reunited, the couple have a formidable hike up the beach and  then inland into the forest back to the nest. I spend two wonderful  days watching tawaki leaving, returning, reuniting, courting and squabbling. Often committees of tawaki gather at the shore and argue about the right time and place for departures. Sometimes they leave but then abort their mission and return to the beach for more arguing. “Meet and greet” committees sometimes seem to admonish returning tawaki, who then turn around and go back out to sea. Clearly, tawaki society is complex and perplexing!

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