Wellington motorists are being warned to drive carefully as blue penguins have begun to cross roads in search of burrows.
At 8.40pm on Saturday, police were called to a report of a little blue penguin on the road on Featherston Street. With the help of the public, the bird was released back into the sea.
On Monday morning, a pair of little blue penguins snuck into a sushi shop near Wellington train station.
Police were called at 6.35am to see if they could remove the nesting pair.
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"The officer was unable to get the penguins so contacted Department of Conservation and Wellington Zoo," said a police spokesperson on Monday.
As of Tuesday morning, DoC says the penguin pals are in a nesting box on the waterfront nearby.
"Rangers report that they seemed to like it and were making cooing noises which is a good sign," said Wellington operations manager Jack Mace.
DoC principal science advisor for marine species Graeme Taylor said Wellingtonians need to be careful, as penguins won't just stick to the seaside.
"Birds don't just stick to the water's edge to breed…they wander across roads to look for cavities to breed in under buildings," said Taylor.
"This means they cross roads and are at risk of being squashed by cars and trucks."
"It's sort of a good problem to have (increasing numbers) but it's obviously a concern if the birds are at risk of being run over."
Penguins in Wellington begin to lay their eggs in mid-to-late August, so it appears the search is on for a suitable nesting area.
Mace asks Wellington residents to be extra cautious when driving near the waterfront as penguins are close, and could be crossing roads to find places to lay eggs.
"We are extremely lucky to share the capital city with so much rare and unique wildlife, and we all have a role in protecting this nature, whether it's taking extra care when driving, keeping dogs under control or tackling pests through initiatives such as Predator Free New Zealand."