500th royal albatross chick in Taiaroa Head, New Zealand

This video is called Otago Peninsula New Zealand.

When the maker visited the Royal Albatross colony at Taiaroa Head, the families were still in their nests. The Stewart Island Shag are an endangered species. The flock of birds in this video constitute most of the species.

From the Otago Daily Times in New Zealand:

Taiaroa Head celebrates hatching of 500th albatross chick

Friday February 09, 2007

It may be number 500 but it has a linkage back to the very first birds.

The 500th albatross chick hatched at Taiaroa Head near Dunedin was officially named yesterday by Minister of Conservation Chris Carter.

The chick was named Toroa, the Maori word for albatross.

The Northern Royal Albatross colony had its beginnings in 1937 when Lance Richdale camped out beside a nest at Taiaroa Head to protect birds and eggs.

Previously they were being killed by predators and people.

Among the four birds at the colony at the time was the bird to be known as Grandma.

Grandma had 15 chicks, with the last being a male known as Button in 1989.

Grandma left the colony that same year, aged at least 60, never to be seen again.

Button, so named by former Wildlife Service ranger Shirley Webb, as he was a “dear wee button” when born, grew up and then returned in the late 1990s to start breeding.

Toroa was his fourth chick and Button was sitting on the chick yesterday as the mother was out at sea looking for food. The mother has had six chicks. …

There have been 746 eggs laid since 1937 at the colony and 366 birds have successfully fledged.

The colony has had a great past season with 23 chicks hatching, the second-highest on record.

More than 50 non-breeding birds have returned to the colony this season, which is a record.

New Fishing methods to Reduce Pacific Albatross Deaths by 90 Percent: here.

Chatham albatross: here.

Gough island: predation by house mice of Tristan albatross.

11 thoughts on “500th royal albatross chick in Taiaroa Head, New Zealand

  1. Thats marvelous. I went there the other day and they did not tell me that? I can thoroughly recommend a trip down to the Albatross Colony; but check in at the Dunedin Town hall Advice Centre first as it is not always open to the public for various reasons.


  2. Kiwis help get rid of supermice

    4:00AM Monday Dec 22, 2008

    New Zealand consultants have been advising the British Government how to rid two small Atlantic islands of giant mice, so big they eat albatross chicks.

    The British Overseas Territory Environment Programme (OTEP) fund provided $188,900 this year for feasibility studies for mouse control on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, including studies by two New Zealand consultants.

    Landcare NZ scientist John Parkes looked at Gough Island and established that the mice could be eradicated but the process would be costly and risky.

    He said the British Government was now looking at doing aerial poison drops but as Gough was a volcanic island, many of the mice lived in underground tunnels. The mice, introduced to the islands from 19th-century ships, have evolved to three times their normal size and feed on endangered albatross chicks.

    OTEP has since paid for a further $161,626 of work by non-NZ consultants on details to fill in gaps on the original research on Gough.

    But Geoff Hilton, senior research biologist at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said they still relied heavily on “informal” New Zealand expertise and advice, from the Department of Conservation, Landcare and university academics. He said they were ” amazed and grateful about how willing the senior people in NZ are to spend such time and energy on supporting our efforts”.

    – NZPA




    WELLINGTON — The Associated Press Last updated on Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009 09:13PM EDT

    Researchers studying a rare and endangered species of penguin in New Zealand have uncovered a previously unknown species that disappeared about 500 years ago.

    The research suggests that the first humans in New Zealand hunted the newly found waitaha penguin to extinction by 1500, about 250 years after their arrival on the islands. But the loss of the Waitaha allowed another kind of penguin to thrive – the yellow-eyed species, which that now also faces extinction, Philip Seddon of Otago University, a co-author of the study, said Wednesday.

    The team was testing DNA from the bones of prehistoric modern yellow-eyed penguins for genetic changes associated with human settlement when it found some bones that were older and had different DNA.

    Tests on the older bones “lead us to describe a new penguin species that became extinct only a few hundred years ago,” the team reported in a paper in the biological research journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

    Polynesian settlers reached New Zealand around 1250 and are known to have hunted species such as the large, flightless moa to extinction.

    Dr. Seddon said dating techniques used on bones pulled from old Maori trash pits revealed a gap in time between the disappearance of the Waitaha and the arrival of the yellow-eyed penguin.

    The gap indicates the extinction of the older bird created the opportunity for the newer to colonize New Zealand’s main islands about 500 years ago, said Sanne Boessenkool, an Otago University doctoral student who led the team of researchers, including some from Australia’s Adelaide University and New Zealand’s Canterbury Museum.

    Competition between the two penguin species may have previously prevented the yellow-eyed penguin from expanding north, the researchers noted.

    David Penny of New Zealand’s Massey University, who was not involved in the research, said the waitaha was an example of another native species that was unable to adapt to a human presence.

    “In addition, it is vitally important to know how species, such as the yellow-eyed penguin, are able to respond to new opportunities,” he said. “It is becoming apparent that some species can respond to things like climate change, and others cannot. The more we know, the more we can help.”

    The yellow-eyed penguin is considered one of the world’s rarest. An estimated population of 7,000 in New Zealand is the focus of an extensive conservation effort.



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