For Laetitia, one of the virtues of life in the southern hemisphere was an opportunity to see penguins. Laetitia decided to use her time off this week to lead a tour on the lower east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Their destination was the Otago Peninsula to see Yellow-Eyed Penguins. Distinguished by their prominent yellow eyes and yellow eye-stripes, these birds have the typical white front and black back of many penguin species. This coloring is no accident; it reduces their vulnerability to predation. When they are swimming, the dark back camouflages them from above and the white belly renders them nearly invisible from beneath. They nest mostly in sand-dune vegetation near coastal beaches and feed mostly on fish. Laetitia arranged with a nature guide form nearby Dunedin to take her group to a designated viewing area. Unlike many Antarctic species that ignore humans, the Yellow-Eyed Penguins are shy. Laetitia’s group viewed them from what New Zealanders call a “hide,” a camouflaged place of concealment that Americans would refer to as a “blind.” Laetitia made this bit of language diversity the subject of her limerick.
To view Yellow-Eyed Penguins, your guide
May suggest that you watch from a “hide”
Though Yanks are inclined
To call it a “blind”
When in New Zealand you must decide.