As we’ve already seen the fairy penguin is the smallest of all penguins and is the only species of penguin which breeds in Australia.
Mating starts in June with males calling for females whilst standing with flippers above his back, his neck stretched, and head upright facing the sky. During courtship, the two penguins stand with flippers spread, heads bowed and walk in tight circles around their nest site, calling as they do so. This calling will continue to help build and maintain their pair bond. Together the parents will big a burrow for their nest. They will then defend the area around the entrance with aggressive posturing, calling and if necessary will resort to pecking, shoving and slapping.
Once the fluffy and helpless babies arrive, the parenting is shared. Mum and dad alternate daily with one standing guard and the other out fishing. After a couple of weeks, both parents will go to sea, returning in the evening to their chicks. Because of their size, predators are a big risk so they tend to either go out to sea for the full day or stay home for the full day instead of running the gauntlet to get from sea to nest several times a day.
Adult penguins forage for food at sea, mostly from dawn to an hour before dusk. After feeding, they form tight groups and remain at sea until dusk. Then they waddle across the beach and head to their burrows. Then, under cover of night, they are known to make a lot of noise and disturb humans…
The keyword for the fairy penguin is willpower and willpower is necessary when you are such a little penguin in such a big world with so many threats. The fairy penguin overcomes any difficulties with being small and flightless by embracing the sea. Their choice to burrow also suggests they are accepting their vulnerabilities and instead of wallowing, they are working with them. Larger penguins would find it difficult to make a burrow big enough for the family. The fairy penguin comes to shore in groups, again they have noted the risk of predators and are working together to lessen this risk.
Do not hide from yourself, do not fret over your limitations, instead harness your strengths and use them to your advantage.