Story of First Short-Tailed Albatross to Hatch Outside of Japan Told Through Pictures

Story of First Short-Tailed Albatross to Hatch Outside of Japan Told Through Pictures

Alisa Opar
Published: 02/02/2011

Below is the story of the Eastern Island chick, told through photographs.
 

Two decoys stand on either side of the nesting male short-tailed albatross. The decoys, along with playing taped bird calls, have been used on Eastern Island for several years to attract the birds. Before the effort began, shorties were rarely seen at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. 2008 saw the first mating and nesting attempt. Photo: Sarah Gutowsky/USFWS
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The proud papa shows off his egg. The birds build their nests with sand, shrubbery, or volcanic debris. They lay one egg, and parents split time on the egg during the 65-day incubation period. FWS staff and volunteers monitor the nest daily with the use of a remote video camera. Photo: J Klavitter/USFWS
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Amid a sea of Laysan albatross, the female incubates her egg. The father was banded as a fledgling on Torishima Island, Japan, in 1987. She was banded there as a fledging in 2003. Shorties begin breeding around age 6 and are monogamous, though they’ve been known to create a new pair bond if the original mate disappears or dies. Photo: Barbara Maxfield/USFWS
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On January 14, during a major storm, the chick hatched. “The parent is doing an excellent job of protecting it so we are guardedly optimistic about its chances for survival," said Daniel Clark, acting Refuge Manager. Photo: Pete Leary/USFWS
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The male protects the newly hatched chick on January 20. Photo: Pete Leary/USFWS
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Video of the male feeding the chick on January 28. Both adults feed the chick by regurgitating flying fish eggs and squid oil.
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Yesterday Pete Leary snapped the first picture of the female and her chick, which is tucked behind her. Photo: Pete Leary/USFWS
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The female with her chick. By late May to mid-June, the chick will nearly be full grown and the adults will begin to abandon their nest. Chicks fledge soon after adults leave the colony and head back out to sea. Photo: Pete Leary/USFWS

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