Waiting For Joey


Joey is an Adelie penguin and was hatched in 2008 at Cape Royds breeding colony on Ross Island Antarctica. Before he left the colony we placed a metal band on his wing (#1050) so we would always be able to identify him when he returns. His story is told in the book 'Waiting for Joey' and you can read about him by following the BOOK.

Waiting for Joey ends in 2018 when Joey is 10 years old, but Joey's story is not over. Our research team will continue to follow Joey and his mate Echo as they return to Cape Royds every season. Check back here for daily updates.

Questions about this page? Email me.

Jean Pennycook jean.pennycook@gmail.com

waiting for Joeyross island

The Waiting for Joey book. A map of Ross Island showing Cape Royds, Joey's home

Joey and Echojoeys home

Joey and Echo, notice Joey's band. Their nesting group at Cape Royds.


Nov 4, 2019. We have moved into our tent at the Cape Royds Adelie Breeding Colony for the 2019-2020 breedeing season.

Nov 21, 2019

I have been visiting Joey's nest site every day now for over two weeks. He has not returned and I fear he will not. It is too late for him to come back, build a nest and lay eggs. They would not hatch in time to grow before winter arrived. Another piar has taken over the site, laid eggs and is doing well. What happened to Joey? There are several options. He may have taken the year off from breeding. Perhaps he ended up in a different colony, there are several in the area. He may have become lost on his way here and is resting on an ice floe for the season. It could also be he was eaten by the Leopard seals which are around and do eat these birds. We hope that is not the case and will look for him next year.
Oct 31, 2018, We have moved out to our tent at the Cape Royds Adelie Breeding Colony. Joey and Echo have returned. Joey built a nice nest on the same site as last year and Echo has joined him. We will follow their progress below.
An An and Ping Ping are on the right. This is our last picture of these chicks and Joey's nest. Tomorrow we pack up our tents and leave the penguins. Join us in Nov 2019 to see if Joey returns. Sadly we will never know what happens to the chicks, but we wish them a long and happy penguin life.

Jan 17, 2019

Our last day

Joey's and Echo raised two healthy chicks this year. They are both expereinced parents and kept their chicks well fed and safe from the Skuas. Join us as we Wait for Joey until Nov 2019 to see if he and Echo come back.

Jan 13, 2019

An An and Ping Ping are on the nest site. It is a warm day with little wind so the crech has broken up. Notice the first signs of molting on An An's belly. In a couple of weeks she will have white feathers there like her parents. These are well fed chicks and growing fast.

Jan 15, 2019

An An and Ping Ping are on the nest site. Look how long their wings are, that is a sign of how old they are getting.

Jan 9, 2109

Echo and An An are on the nest. Ping Ping is with his friends in the crech. Echo is fresh from the ocean and has just fed her chicks.

Jan 11, 2019

Joey and the chicks are on the nest, An An is getting fed. Joey arrived, called to them and they came running. These chicks are demanding up to 1 lb (~600 g) of food a day.

Jan 5, 2019

An An and Ping Ping. are with a crech of other chicks. These groups form while both parents are out looking for food. The chicks keep each other warm and it helps to fend off the Skuas.

Jan 7, 2019

Both Joey's chicks are in this group. Can you find them?

Dec 31, 2018

Joey in here with the chicks. It is a calm and 'warm' day.

Jan 2, 2019

Joey is here with An An and Ping Ping. It is a calm warm day and the chicks are starting to explore their surroundings. They were not born on the same day, but we consider them to be 2 weeks old today.

Dec 26, 2018

Echo is here right now, but trips to the ocean are happening daily and the chicks are growing fast so I think they are switching on and off frequently. It has been very windy the last 4 days in the colony, chicks are buried in their parents body to keep warm.

Dec 29, 2018

Joey is back with food for these chicks. An An and Ping Ping are growing fast, both Echo and Joey are experienced parents, and not only keeping them safe, but bringing back plenty of food.

Dec 22, 2108

Echo is here, but I think Joey has been here and gone since the last time I checked the nest. Trips to the ocean are almost daily now. Look how big these chicks have grown.

Dec 23, 2018

And here is Joey, An An and Ping Ping are keeping warm. Today is very cold and the wind is blowing hard.

Dec 17, 2018

Joey brought a stomach full of krill to feed his chicks. Still only one chick but, it is a hungry one and will need about 60 lbs of food to gain the size and weight it needs to be on its own. That will take about 50 days.

Dec 20, 2018

Echo is here and now there are 2 hungry chicks. Trips to the ocean for food are taking less and less time, as the chicks will require more and more food. But still the parents have to take turns. These chicks are too young to be left alone. They have been named Ping Ping and An An by my friend Yu-Yi Ling from Taiwan who now lives in Pembrook MA. Ping-An mean 'safe' in chinese and we need these chicks to be safe.

Dec 15, 2018

Echo is here and there are two eggs. She is tired of sitting on the eggs and decided to stand up and stretch.

Dec 16, 2018

YEAH ! ! One egg has hatched. Joey was here to see it happen. Find the piece of shell that is still near the nest. This is a happy day. It is 37 days after the egg was laid, which is the top of the range, so we are glad it hatched.

Dec 13, 2018

Echo is back. The eggs are still un-hatched, but any day now.

Dec 14, 2108

It is hard to wait. There are already lots of eggs that have hatched in the colony, some that were laid on the same day as these. But there is a range in incubation time, so I am not worried.

Dec 8, 2018

Echo is still here. It is a beautiful day and the sun has melted all the snow or the wind blew it away. Either way Echo has stayed on the nest keeping the eggs dry and warm. The storm has made the open ocean only about 1/4 mile away so the birds are getting their food easily.

Dec 10, 2018

Joey is back. The first chick of the season at Cape Royds hatched today. I look every day, but will be expecting their eggs to start hatching around Dec 13th. Make a predition yourself. Do you think Joey will be here or Echo? It is hard to wait.

Dec 4, 2018

Echo has returned. The first egg was laid Nov 10 so we will start looking for chicks to hatch around Dec 13, just over a week away. The foraging trips for Joey and Echo will be shorter now as they get ready to feed their chicks.


Dec 6, 2018

Echo is here and managed the storm. It was a big one. Several of our nests were buried, but Echo kept the eggs warm and dry. If you want to see a nest that did not do so well go HERE, and look for the picture dated Dec 6, 2018.

Nov 28, 2018

Joey is showing us his beautiful eggs today. It is sunny and calm in the colony so he is up and stretching. One of his neighbors lost an egg to the skuas yesterday. I was sorry to see that, but Joey is an experienced parent so I think he will keep his eggs safe.

Nov 30, 2018

It is cloudy and snowing lightly today, Joey is keeping the eggs warm. He did not want to stand up for me, but I am sure the 2 eggs are there. It is very important NOT to disturb any nesting bird as they may leave the nest and not come back. I walk by quickly so he can relax.

Nov 21, 2018

YEAH ! ! Echo has returned, See how clean she is. I am sure Joey was grateful to retun to the ocean for a good bath and food. Let's see how long he is gone. There are still 2 eggs which makes me smile. There are many Skua in the area taking eggs, I hope this couple can keep theirs safe.

Nov 25, 2018

Joey has returned from feeding and Echo has now gone to the ocean. They will take turns for the next 3+ weeks until the eggs hatch. Based on the egg laying date we will start to expect chicks around Dec 18.

Nov 15, 2018

At Last. There are two eggs and Echo has left the colony. Producing eggs takes energy and Echo is hungry. She has gone to the open ocean to feed. Let's hope she returns soon. Joey will sit on the eggs as long as he can, but he is hungry too. He has not had a meal in at least 2 weeks.

Nov 17, 2018

Joey is still on the nest and waiting for Echo. He arrived in the colony on Oct 31, 3 weeks ago today. He has not had any food or water since then and is very hungry. We hope Echo comes back soon.

Nov 10, 2018

Echo has laid her first egg. You can just see it inside her brood patch which is an area on her belly with no feathers. The adults cuddle the egg there against their warm body and warp the feathers around it.

Nov 12, 2018

Still only one egg. Joey is standing nearby.

Nov 5, 2018

It has snowed here at Cape Royds, and most of the snow has melted adding to the mud in this group.

Nov 9, 2018

Both Echo and Joey are here, still no eggs.

Nov 1

Echo is on the nest and they are waiting for eggs to arrive. Last year their first egg was seen on Nov 12th

Nov 3, 2018

Both parents are here and very dirty. Still no eggs.

joey nest

Oct 24, 2018

We visit the colony for a day trip to see if there are any penguins yet. Yes, there are a few, but Joey's nest is empty. We will check back in a few days.

Oct 31, 2018

Joey has returned and here is Echo too. They have found their nest site from last year and built a good nest. There is lots of mud in this breeding group right now.


Jan, 2018

This was Joey and his chick last season. We do not know if the chick survived it's first year in Antarctica. Adelie penguins do not return to their breeding colony for several years.

joeys tag

Jan 2018

At the end of last season (2107-18), Joey was fitted with a tracker which will record where he went all winter long, as well as how many, and how deep his feeding dives were. This will help us understand where these penguins survive in the winter.