Millicent woman Kat Hodgens has a big heart for rescuing wildlife, so when she found a Little Penguin washed up on a local beach she did not hesitate to help out.
Ms Hodgens found the penguin – which she fondly named Sticky Beak – at Cape Jaffa, with her bottom beak broken away preventing her from catching food in the wild.
Sticky Beak was malnourished and weighed a meagre 500 grams when Ms Hodgens rescued her, when Little Penguins typically weigh between 1 and 1.2 kilograms.
Ms Hodgens said the bird gained 300 grams and was expensive to feed, as Little Penguins eat roughly 25% of their body weight daily, however some Millicent locals stepped in to help with feeding costs.
Sticky Beak settled in quickly during her three week stay at Ms Hodgens’ home before she was transferred to Adelaide Zoo.
“She was pretty cool, she would just walk around the house,” she said.
“If she was hungry she would put her flippers back and honk at me, she was so cute.”
Ms Hodgens said the zoo did a great job with Sticky Beak and it was wonderful they were willing to care for her and give her a chance.
Sticky Beak proved to be a crowd favourite in Millicent, stealing the hearts of locals and Ms Hodgens’ daughter.
“Everyone from down here, they just love her, they all send me photos when they are at the zoo,” she said.
“My daughter just loves her and always asks about her.”
Ms Hodgens is now a proud penguin grandmother, as Sticky Beak and her partner, Brioche, then laid an egg.
However, they were not too keen on incubating the egg, which was fostered with another pair, Tux and Daiquiri, who were successful in raising the chick.
Ms Hodgens has rescued many other animals and she is particularly passionate about birds of prey, such as barn owls, tawny frogmouths and falcons.
“It’s so rewarding, it’s so nice being able to help them,” she said.
Ms Hodgens said locals were always willing to help out with donations such as spare cages and blankets and the local veterinarians were very supportive of her rescues.