A Penguin in New Zealand, Bono’s Peahen (VIDEO)

A young emperor penguin took a really wrong turn and ended up not back home in Antartica but in … New Zealand. The penguin, who seems to be about 10 months old and whose gender has not yet been determined, swam almost 2000 miles to end up on Peka Peka beach on the North Island’s western coast, says the Guardian. “It was out of this world to see it … like someone just dropped it from the sky,” said Christine Wilton, who had been walking her miniature schnauzer dog Millie when she came upon the penguin.

Colin Miskelly, a curator at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, says the penguin may have been on the hunt for squid and krill when it “took a wrong turn.” He notes that emperor penguins can be in the ocean for months at the time and that, when first found, the penguin in question appeared to be “healthy and well fed, with plenty of body fat, and probably came ashore for a rest.” Here’s the penguin, the first to be seen in New Zealand in 44 years:

New Zealand officials have moved the penguin to a local zoo, says the Australian, as he’d been eating small sticks and driftwood, which he had tried to regurgitate, and seemed to be getting more lethargic. Said Miskelly:

…it made sense that a penguin might mistake sand for Antarctic snow, which emperors eat for hydration, but he had no explanation for the bird eating wood.

Mr Miskelly was one of three experts who helped lift the penguin from the beach into a tub of ice and then on to the back of a truck. Mr Miskelly said he lifted the bird’s rear while the others held its flippers and beak. The bird was docile enough that experts didn’t need to sedate it for the 65km journey to the Wellington Zoo.

As New Zealand has no facilities to house an emperor penguin long-term, Miskelly says that it’s hoped the bird will heal enough to be released back into the wild.

Across the globe, another wandering bird caused disruption of a more unpleasant sort among the locals, but had a far shorter journey back home. The Guardian reports that “a resident of Killiney, the exclusive Dublin neighbourhood in which the U2 frontman lives, called the garda after a particularly vocal peahen had outstayed its welcome in her garden.” The peahen belongs to, yes, Bono and apparently has a predilection for roaming into neighbors’ property and leaving its calling card:

Well! What a beguiling vignette of Irish community life. But that was far from the end of it, as further Bono neighbours called a local radio station to relate their own problems with the bird, which apparently has “a tiny head and a huge body” (the exact obverse of its master, in fact).

“It went into my neighbour’s house next door,” another resident explained, “and left a lovely message on her lawn.”

What can you say? Other than fair play to the bird. It has clearly decided to serve as a living, breathing Bono metaphor – squawking, preening, strutting around like it owns the place, and an irksome drain on civic resources funded by taxpayers other than itself.

I’m guessing Bono’s neighbors would be only too pleased if the peahen went on a hike and went 2000 miles away. Even New Zealand might not be far away enough.


Photo of a peahen — not Bono’s — by jezzebelle

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Photo of emperor penguins in Antarctica by lin padgham (hope the lost penguin can get back there someday)


Serena Alonzi
6 years ago


KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago

Glad to here he got to a zoo.

go G.
C. G6 years ago

i hope he is getting better!!

Carla Manning
Carla M6 years ago

great story..thanks..and rock on Bono bird!!

dawn w.
Dawn W6 years ago

I wish they'd help the penguin get back home.He already got so lost,how do they know he'll make it back on his own?They gave him medical help but that's not enough.People can certainly interfere with nature to screw it up,but not to actually help.

Helen K.
Helen K6 years ago

Glad to here he got to a zoo at least. Last thing I heard they were going to "let nature take it's course". Which, I guess, means he ends up dead. I am quite sure New Zealander's know the difference between being in a zoo and "Wildlife Rescue".

Katherine W.
Katherine Wright6 years ago

I hope this little guy can be helped and returned to his home. Glad so many people are stepping up to help him...gotta love penguins~they are so darned cute!

Laurie D.
Laurie D6 years ago

Great! Thanks!

Jaime Lopez
Jaime Lopez6 years ago

Im so glad they finally did something for the bird, hope they treating well and he gets strong to go ba home, he's so cute, God bless him!!!!!!!!!!

Patricia G.
Patricia G6 years ago

Get well, little fella. And go back home :)