Altruism, Albatrosses, and Vicious Young Men

10,000 Birds

Ka’ena Point is also a breeding ground for the Federally protected Laysan albatross, where 45 nests were being carefully monitored by the non-profit Pacific Rim Conservation. Laysan albatrosses are ocean-dwelling seabirds who have 6-foot wingspans, weigh 7-8 pounds, occasionally sleep while flying, and rarely land except to raise their chicks. The oldest Laysan albatross was last seen raising a chick on Midway Atoll in 2016, at age 66. On Dec.

Antipodean Albatrosses

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So here’s some Antipodean Albatrosses! The taxonomy of the bigger albatrosses, known as great albatrosses, is tricky. What were three species, Royal Albatross, Wandering Albatross and Amsterdam Albatross , are now seven. Tristan Albatrosses are an Atlantic species that I am not aware have made it to New Zealand, but Wandering Albatross do turn up here on occasion. The mighty Antipodean Albatross.

Laysan Albatrosses

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While I often tease Corey about how many albatrosses we have down here in New Zealand, the fact is that the United States has three species of Albatross that breed within its boundaries, albeit one of them only very rarely, and visit the western shores of North America. Two thousand albatross to band and generally two to eight people (usually four) to do it. One of the two species found on Tern Island is the Laysan Albatross. The dances of the albatrosses are famous.

Identify My Albatross!

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There was a time when albatross taxonomy was quite simple. Actually, I lie, albatross taxonomy has always been a mess, but there was a period of relative calm, from the sixties to the ninties, when there were about 12 species in two genera. Then taxonomists started using DNA to look at albatrosses, and everyone knows nothing good comes from that. This is unambiguously an albatross. This makes identification of albatrosses a tricky thing sometimes.

Buller’s Albatrosses

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It’s winter down here for sure now, and winter in Kaikoura , on the coast of South Island north of Christchurch, means one thing, albatrosses! I took a lot of photos but today I’ll just be sharing the ones of the Buller’s Albatross , Thalassarche bulleri , known here as the Buller’s Mollymawk. Birds albatrosses Gallery new zealand seabirds

The Dance of the Albatross

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You’ll need to find yourself an albatross. Gratuitous Black-browed Albatross photo ( Thalassarche melanophrys ) not engaging in dancing Albatrosses are the longest lived of an already long lived order of birds, the petrels, and are in fact among the longest lived of all birds. The answer lies in the information I just provided; how long everything takes when you’re an albatross. Waved Albatrosses ( Phoebastria irrorata ) by Aaron Logan (CC).

Black-footed Albatrosses Rock!

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The important thing is that I get to see albatrosses and he doesn’t. I mean, granted, he does live near the North Atlantic, the one ocean pretty much bereft of albatrosses (it wasn’t always that way, by the way). But he does live in the States, and America does have albatrosses, and they can be easily seen in California, which is not only in the States but is actually a place I’m fairly sure he visits. The Black-footed Albatross.

Black-browed Albatrosses

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This Sunday I will be off the coast of Kaikoura on South Island for the first time since 2008 checking out the amazing albatrosses they have there. While albatrosses are found year-round on the tours out of Kaikoura, the best season for them is winter and not all species are common year round. One such species is the Black-browed Albatross, which is possible but not guaranteed in December. Birds albatrosses New Zealand pelagic birding seabirds

Plane – Albatross Collision

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The plane (and all on board) survived but the albatross was not so lucky. See the whole story here. Asides

Albatross for Children

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Have you ever stayed up late at night pondering how you might introduce your child to the awesomeness that is an albatross without having access to, you know, a real live albatross? That is why I am so psyched that illustrator Bill Bolton has come out with an ebook for kids about an albatross that is afraid to fly. The book is called I Can’t Fly and 10% of the profits will go to the Save the Albatross fund.

Review: Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America

10,000 Birds

Reviews Albatrosses and Storm-petrels of North America petrels seabirds tubenosesI’ve spent the odd hour sea-watching from both land and sea. I’ve sea-watched with some very experienced birders whose ability to identify species almost at the edge of visibility has left me questioning my optics, my eyesight, my ability and quite often my sanity. I’ve listened and learned and gone back to listen and learn some more.

A Move to Protect Albatrosses

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Good news ! Asides

Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide – A Librarian Birder’s Review

10,000 Birds

Howell continues his tradition of giving clarity to what most birders find intimidating with Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-Petrels of North America: A Photographic Guide , just published by Princeton University Press. They are albatrosses, storm-petrels, petrels, shearwaters (actually petrels), black and white and gray and brownish birds whose prominent nostrils are covered by tubes, giving them a really good sense of smell and enabling them to drain away excess salt.

Kaikoura stricken

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Thanks to it’s marine canyon it’s the place to see Sperm Whales, swim with Dusky Dolphins and New Zealand Fur-seals, and watch albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels. There is no better place on Earth to see albatrosses, and that is a precious thing. White-capped Albatrosses are easy to see. Northern Royal Albatrosses aren’t as common, but worth finding. Conservation albatrosses earthquakes Kaikoura

2016 69

Kaikoura in the Spring

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Anyone that has read my posts before knows I love Kaikoura and the amazing people at Albatross Encounter. It was pretty obvious which of the many boats out there it was, the huge flocks of petrels and albatrosses around the boat made finding it easy. Salvin’s Albatrosses were nice to add to my year list. Salvin’s Albatrosses mixing it with a much larger Antipodean Albatross and lots of assorted petrels. The albatross is pretty old.

2013 62

Kaikoura in the Summer

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Kaikoura, in New Zealand’s South Island, is arguably the best place in the world to see albatrosses and petrels. Whereas much pelagic birding involves arduous trips out to continental shelves with nothing but gulls on the way, you pretty much start hitting albatrosses a few minutes out of the little harbour and they keep coming for the duration of the trip. But the second factor is the sheer number of albatrosses you’ll find around New Zealand. Another Albatross!

2013 70

Kaikoura in the Autumn

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I will never tire of banging Kaikoura’s drum as the best place in the world to see albatrosses, and since albatrosses are the among the best birds in the world it amazes me that none of you have made it out here yet (actually, some of you have, per some of the comments, but Corey hasn’t). Two hours after getting off the boat after checking out Sperm Whales we were off again out to find some albatross. White-capped Albatrosses are quite common.

2013 62

Survival of the Flexible

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Although the islands are a cramped home to 18 species of seabird, the dominant and most charismatic of these are the two species of albatross, the Black-footed and Laysan Albatrosses. There was one young Black-footed Albatross that was apparently not planning on going quietly into the dark night, however. Throughout the petrel and albatross order there are suposed to be only two species, the two large and vulture-like giant petrels , that feed on land.

2011 73

9 Years in New Zealand

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The magnificent Northern Royal Albatross. Squabbling Antipodean Albatrosses and Cape Petrels. Buller’s Albatrosses. Birding albatrosses New Zealand New Zealand endemicAs I mentioned in passing last week, I’ve just passed nine years since I moved to the Land of the Long White Cloud, Aotearoa, New Zealand. My reasons for doing so were actually bird related, namely a PhD in bird evolution, the less said about the better.

The Ole’ Bucket List

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I think I know what Corey wants for Christmas… a Buller’s Albatross. Trips albatrosses bucket lists South Africa wish lists Well, this time next week I’ll be winging my way to Cape Town via Auckland and Singapore (air transport is weird sometimes), so this is my last beat post of the year.

2014 71

Tubenose Taxonomy 101

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And the famous Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, nearly 12 feet across in the largest individuals. Four families are often recognized: storm-petrels, albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels , and diving-petrels. Albatrosses The enormous albatrosses are, amazingly enough, apparently most closely related to the diminutive storm-petrels. Birds albatrosses petrels seabirds shearwaters storm-petrel taxonomy and systematicsTubenose.

2011 75

Ship-followers and Sunsets

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One thing that did worry me was a lack of albatrosses, I only had one distant flyby, too far away to identify. Without an albatross how could I torment Corey? In the open ocean albatrosses can follow ships for days, but this was the first time I had ever seen the behaviour and it was hellishly impressive to see them effortlessly keep up with the steaming ferry. A White-capped Albatross! Birding albatrosses Marlborough Sounds New Zealand endemics

2016 40

The Petrels of French Frigate Shoals

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Black-footed Albatrosses One of Hawaii’s three species of albatross, this one isn’t likely to mistaken for much else. An adult Black-footed Albatross loafing in the evening and failing to fly to California. Laysan Albarosses Last but by no means least are the Laysan Albatrosses. To be an albatross is to move! You can see more photos of Laysan Albatrosses here.

Petrel Paradise

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In particular the South Island destination of Kaikoura is world-renowned for the flocks of albatrosses and giant petrels floating right off the pelagic boat, and the ease of the trip makes it a must-visit for any visiting birder. The trip is very different to my trip out of Kaikoura, which was very albatross-dominated (albatrosses do occur at Hauraki but are seasonal and rarer), although the exact composition of what you see at both varies greatly by season.

2011 64

Getting Lost in North Sydney

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It’s the place to go to if you want to sea watch, and lacking as I did a spotting scope I was disadvantaged, insofar as I was unable to work out which species of albatross it was I saw out of the many that soared past the headland. But there were a lot of albatrosses, and if writing here has taught me anything, it is that any day I see an albatross is a day that Corey hasn’t seen one. Birding albatrosses Honeyeaters parrots Sydney

2013 56

Federal Public Lands: Pacific Seabirds

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Although many seabirds seen on Pacific pelagic birding trips breed elsewhere, some breed in the United States and, perhaps surprisingly for birds that spend most of their lives at sea, federal lands are critical to almost all of them: Laysan Albatross : A relatively uncommon sight on pelagics, virtually all of the world’s Laysan Albatross breed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, primarily on Laysan Island in the Hawaiian Islands NWR and on Midway Atoll NWR.

2017 57

Giant Petrels are Awesome

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The giant petrels are aptly named, massive lumbering fulmarine petrels as large as small albatrosses that terrorise the Southern Ocean. The giant petrels share more than just their size with the albatrosses. But they are no albatrosses, and are also the only members of the petrel order that feed on land, regularly feeding on carcasses on land. Although giant petrels are big, they aren’t as big as an Antipodean Albatross !

2013 61

Around the World For Penguins: A Penguin Fan’s Book Review

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Penguins are shown individually in groups, in dense colonies, within habitat (ice, rainforest, beach), swimming in the ocean, and doing things–nose to nose with an albatross, feeding a child, placing an egg on its foot, sliding down ice. Penguins! Penguins here! <pause>

Saving Birds From Invasive … Plants?

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They include Black-footed Albatrosses , Laysan Ducks , and roughly 65 percent of the world’s Laysan Albatrosses. Between 2012 and 2013, populations of Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses at Midway reached near-record levels. And just a few months ago, conservationists celebrated the hatching of a Short-tailed Albatross on the atoll, only the third time this rare bird has produced a chick outside of Japan.

2014 75

Where Are You Birding This First Weekend of April 2012?

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Keep your eyes to the skies… you might see an Albatross! Find out where you might spy a Shy Albatross and other phenomenal pelagics with Patrick Cardwell ) a. Most weeks, we tend to focus on the movements and migrations of birds. However, with upcoming Easter and Passover festivities and America’s all-important Spring Break, now is a good time to focus on the peregrinations of people. Where are you going this weekend? Will you see birds there?

2012 62

Cape Pigeons

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Buller’s Albatross ( Thalassarche bulleri ) and Cape Petrel ( Daption capense ) at Kaikoura. The focus of today is one of the guys above, but since I have already done a story on Buller’s Albatrosses before it is going to be about the other guy. The important take home message from this photo is not the scrum of Antipodean Albatrosses (there may be some Royals mixed in too) but the smaller Cape Petrels. This post is not about albatrosses!

Sperm Whales in Kaikoura

10,000 Birds

I have raved on and on about how Kaikoura is the best place in the world to see albatrosses , but the once sleepy seaside town is not actually famous for these magnificent birds. The reason Kaikoura is such a great place to see albatrosses and whales is one and the same, and the same reason indeed that Monterrey in California is a great place to watch whales and albatross. After which a breakfast/lunch before heading out for albatrosses.

Best Bird of the Weekend (Second of August 2016)

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Corey’s Best Bird of the Weekend was an easy one to choose as it was his first albatross, a Black-footed Albatross off the coast of California. Maybe this is the kid in me talking, but summer beats every other season for me. It’s like Seals & Croft said: “Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”

2016 42

At Sea With the Marine Birds of the Raincoast: A Book Review

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At Sea With the Marine Birds of the Raincoast opens with the unexpected appearance of a Laysan Albatross. We are all suckers for an albatross, at least in the United States. The author, conservation biologist Caroline Fox, is observing the albatross’s shadow to the side of the boat. A little history about the Laysan Albatross, named on the basis of a speciman found on Laysan, one of the Hawaiian Islands, is offered.

2016 40

Sooty Terns are Very Loud

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The mammoth like thing behind is an albatross chick. I ts easy to overheat, so the shade of a convenient Black-footed Albatross chick is sought-after. I’m not quite sure why I started thinking about Sooty Terns today, but once I did couldn’t get them out of my mind so I may as well harness that and do a post on them. They are, I think, the most numerous species of seabird in the tropical Pacific I haven’t done a post on yet. If not, then certainly the loudest.

2014 68

For the Birds: Midway Atoll Mouse Eradication and NEPA

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These remote islands, some more than 1,000 miles from Honolulu, are home to huge globally-significant colonies of Laysan and Black-footed Albatross, among many others. In 2015, mice suddenly started attacking albatrosses sitting on nests and attacks have been steadily increasing since. Having evolved without predators, the albatrosses are effectively defenseless against the mice and the photos show the consequences.

2018 45

Birds of Chile – A Photo Guide

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Guiding aside, Howell is a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences and the author of many books, including Petrels, Albatrosses, and Storm-Petrels of North America (Princeton). If you want to write a bird guide, you should have guided people yourself.

Chile 79

Week Seven: Stewart Island & Penguins

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Our next stops were at Portobello, for the Royal Albatross Center, and the Blue Penguin beach. The first night we got to watch nearly 20 Little Blue Penguins waddle ashore, as well as a whole bunch of the huge Northern Royal Albatross’s circle overhead. We had planned on an early morning visit back to see the albatross’s but it was blowing well over 50 knots, and it was just crazy trying to be up on that point in that kind of wind.

2018 57

Darkness comes in shades of brown

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Maybe they were lured by the promise of even more seabirds and albatrosses. Seabirds and albatrosses? Heck, the way west coast pelagic trips are developing doesn’t suggest the ABA is in imminent procellarid peril, when literally anybody can nowadays see an albatross. You may have missed it.

2016 68

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, 5th edition

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I particularly like the albatrosses and owls, shrikes and boubous. For several years I lived and birded in the south of Africa , and still have my battered second edition (1997) of the Sasol Birds of Southern Africa, the most trusted local field guide.

Comebackers

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This male Short-tailed Albatross has fledged 2 chicks from Eastern Island, Midway Atoll, the only place in the U.S. Short-tailed Albatross was thought to be, at one time, the most abundant species of albatross in the North Pacific. In 1904, they were still “tolerably common on both coasts of Vancouver Island”, but by 1949 the Steller’s Albatross was thought to be extinct.

2014 80

Where Are You Birding This Third Weekend of June 2014?

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Maybe you’ll see albatrosses ! Keeps your eyes to the skies. Many civilized nations choose the third weekend in June to honor fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. In response, many fathers elect to celebrate their paternity by ditching their progeny. Is this civilized behavior? I wouldn’t go that far but will point out that you’ll see a lot more birds if you leave the kids at home!

2014 71

Penguins on the Beach

10,000 Birds

Corey asked that I didn’t post any albatrosses today, which suits me since I didn’t do a pelagic trip and thus didn’t see any. And some jackass sounding calling… Okay, now it’s time to go find some albatross. Well, I’m finally back from Africa. In fact, I’ve been back a week and a half… and I’m still trying to readjust to normal life, and work out how I can go back sooner rather than later.