Rare albatross’ first time nests in Hawaii


This video is called Midway Atoll Short Tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus.

From Reuters:

Endangered albatross nests in U.S. for first time

Wed Dec 8, 12:51 pm ET

WASHINGTON – An endangered species of albatross has been found nesting in U.S. territory — Pacific Ocean atolls in the Hawaiian island chain — for the first time, the American Bird Conservancy said on Wednesday.

The Short-tailed Albatross, once thought extinct, has been restricted to only two breeding sites, Torishima and the Senkaku islands in Japan, the Conservancy said in a statement.

It said the discovery of a nest on Kure Atoll and another in Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge “marks a potential turning point for the species.”

Kure, the northern-most coral atoll in the world, is at the northwest end of the Hawaiian island chain, some 50 miles from Midway, site of a famous World War Two battle between Japanese and U.S. forces.

Numbering more than a million at one time, the Short-tailed Albatross was thought to have been wiped out by the late 1940s, hurt especially by feather hunting, the Conservancy said.

However, a handful of birds were discovered in the early 1950s and the population has reached 3,000, mostly on Japan’s volcanic Torishima.

Experts fear an eruption there could spell fresh disaster for the bird.

Establishing another secure nesting site is one of the highest priorities for the species’ recovery,” the Conservancy quoted Jessica Hardesty Norris, director of its seabird program, as saying.

She said the group “hopes to see healthy breeding populations in the U.S. in the near future, either on Kure or Midway Atoll.”

(Reporting by Jerry Norton; Editing by Greg McCune)

See also here. And here.

Friday was a very happy birthday for one special albatross chick. According to Salon.com, the first short-tailed albatross hatched January 14 on Eastern Island in the Midway Atoll, the first time these critically endangered seabirds have hatched outside Japan in recorded history. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has spent years encouraging the birds to nest away from their traditional nesting grounds, which are under constant threat of volcanic activity: here.

Fifty seabird biologists have written to New Zealand’s Fisheries Minister, concerned that the proposed framework for managing the incidental mortality of seabirds in New Zealand fisheries is flawed: here.

Goldcrests, ice and water


This is a video of a goldcrest nest.

This morning, again goldcrests in the tree where I had seen them a few weeks ago.

A bit of thawing now, so more water than ice in the river Rhine. In the days to come, it may freeze again.

Great cormorants on the bank. Mallards, great crested grebes, and black-headed gulls in the water.

December 2010. The RSPB has long been advising that birds enjoy fruit like apples, pears and berries. But the wildlife charity now has proof that some birds like bananas too, with a variety of birds on one of its nature reserves scoffing down bunches at a time courtesy of a local supermarket: here.