This video is called Dancing Laysan Albatross – Midway Atoll, December 2008.
By Suzan Phillips:
Elderly Albatross Survives Tsunami Damage to Midway Atoll
Published Mar 13, 2011
14th March 2011 – Among the terrible human tragedy of the Japan earthquakes and the tsunami waves that have swept the Japanese coastline and across the Pacific ocean, comes a good news bird story.
Last week, news sources around the world celebrated Wisdom’s efforts to raise another chick when she is reported to be the oldest known albatross (according to American records), at more than 60 years old.
Wisdom had returned safely to her nest on Sand Island to raise another chick in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Islands.
Last Saturday, one of the tidal waves from Japan’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Midway Atoll.
The islands of Midway Atoll include a large colony of Laysan Albatross and the second largest breeding population of Black-footed Albatross and these were nesting on the ground with eggs and chicks in the nests this week when the tsunami waves struck.
Tsunami washes away nests and chicks
Staff on Midway Atoll reported that the tsunami that hit Midway Atoll was about 1.4 metres high and flooded some parts of the island. At least some chicks and adult Laysan Albatross were killed and hundreds of chicks were washed away from their nests onto roadways and under bushes. The nests inland were not affected, and by the morning both the adults and chicks there were going about their business as usual, according to one report.
Volunteers and visitors to the island spent the afternoon freeing dozens of albatross chicks that had been washed into and caught inside thickets of naupaka. This often required hacking through the bushes with large clippers and small saws, and either crawling through the spaces or climbing on top of the branches to perch suspended over the ground. Visitors also dug out many petrels who had been trapped and buried in their burrows.
Wisdom had a nest in the inland area, and so was safe. The first Short-tailed Albatross to nest on hard hit Eastern Island was also out of danger.
Kure Atoll colonies also devastated
The colony on Kure Atoll (89km east of Midway), was also devastated. Field Camp manager, Cynthia Vanderlip from Kure Atoll Conservancy said they climbed up onto the roof of their building.
“We are all fine. We stayed on the roof from 12pm until 4 am (on March 11th). Midway called and said that the wave had passed. … I took a quick walk to see the damage at the beach and it is extensive. The wave washed about 400 feet inland,” she said.
“The Black-foot colony at the pier is gone, chicks are everywhere. Thousands of ghost crabs are cleaning up the dead. The wave washed over the top of the pier and tore the window frames out. The ocean is chocolate brown.”
“I am thankful that our building is 700 feet inland and 20 feet above sea level. We were spared, but I fear for all the other folks in the Pacific. The loss of wildlife breaks my heart. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers,” she said.
Tsunami kills thousands of albatrosses on Midway Island – Galapagos has minor damage: here.
September 2011: Critically endangered Nihoa millerbirds are now living on the Hawaiian island of Laysan for the first time in nearly a century, thanks to a historic and collaborative conservation effort: here.
On the sizeable wings of albatrosses: here.
Fukushima update: cracked fuel rods threaten meltdown: here.
Tokyo Electric to Build US Nuclear Plants: The No BS Info on Japan’s Disastrous Nuclear Operators: here.
- Plastic Oceans, Islands and Albatross Devastation – High Seas Matter (oceansnrg.com)
- Study projects earlier sea-level rise threat to islands (summitcountyvoice.com)
- [Radio New Zealand] Study Says Low Lying Atolls To Be Submerged Quicker Than Expected (concernedyapcitizens.wordpress.com)