Sunday, March 7, 2010

Albatross Chicks

So call me a sap, but I've been here two weeks and I still have a hard time not breaking out in high-pitched squeals whenever I sit down and watch an albatross chick. It's extremely unscientific of me, but really, how can you not?

When I first arrived in late February, most were only a couple weeks old and looked like this:

While standing on their heels, they would twist around and snap their bill at any passersby.

Two weeks later and it looks as though they've swallowed a bowling ball. It takes considerable more effort to stand up so they seem to prefer laying on their big bellies.

This is what I feel like after a good meal at the Clipper House.

This is what I've learned so far: It takes tremendous energy for a mated pair of albatrosses to successfully raise a chick. Breeders will often skip a year to recover and conserve energy. After an egg is laid, both parents take turns incubating the egg for a whopping 65 days! They will feed the chick - sometimes flying incredible distances to forage - for 5 more months until it is ready to fledge. If one of the adults dies during this time, the chick will not survive. Not to worry though - on Midway, the fledging success is an impressive 86%!

I look forward to watching them grow. We can compare belly sizes.


  1. I know this shows an extreme lack of education - but where exactly IS Midway? I was under the impression you were back in Hawaii but my dad said Midway is by Japan... So, I'm lost...

  2. never mind - I just found out by looking at Gary's Midway blog :)

  3. and - btw - can I say again how jealous I am that you are there in paradise???

  4. I like this conversation you're having on this page! I think you're both right, but you were closer!