Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thanks Everyone

Wow, thanks for all of the support to everyone who commented. I'm glad that so many people were interested in what happened out here. It's very nice to hear.

The big question as of late seems to be "Is Wisdom ok?" If anyone doesn't know, Wisdom is now recogized as the oldest wild bird in the U.S. at least 60 years old (she was banded as a breeding adult in 1956). There's no reason to think she's not ok, since her nest was not in an area that was affected by the tsunami. If she was at her nest, she would have been ok, and if she was feeding, she would most likely have been flying out in open ocean. I'll let you know when we spot her though.

I have been putting up some of my pictures on the USFWS Flickr site. Many of them are here on my blog, but I posted a few more there. There are also some photos of Laysan Island, and a map that I made of the flooded areas of the islands on Midway. It's worth looking at it (it's the last of the 50 pictures).

There is also an official news release at: It is under the Recent News Releases toward the bottom.

We had another couple of days of finding more buried birds. And we did some more cleanup of the Monument seep on Eastern Island. We sometimes have problems with botulism outbreaks in the endangered Laysan ducks. Decaying proteins (i.e. dead birds, fish, and vegetative debris) can give the botulism bacteria great growing conditions, so it was important to get that out.

Aside from a visitor's group from the Oceanic Society, we also got the crews from Laysan Island and Kure Atoll. They were all a big help with seep cleanup and habitat restoration. The NOAA ship Hi'ialakai was kind enough to evacuate the island crews to Midway. They will put new crews on those islands soon.

Thank you all again!

This seal found its way into a washed up net on the boat ramp. Luckily, it wasn't stuck too bad yet and we could quickly pull the net back over its head. It went right back to sleep after we removed the net.

I finally found this chick after 6 days. It was still alive, and still pretty snappy.

This Black-footed albatross only had one wing stuck for days. The 2 Laysan albatross in the photo only had their heads uncovered. Albatrosses can sit on their nests for weeks without going for food, so as long as they aren't too stressed, there is a possibility that they can survive.

One of our visitors, Connie, is freeing a buried Laysan albatross. Most of the birds are biting while we dig them out, making it a bit more difficult. I've got about 20 separate cuts from them on my hand. They usually quit biting as soon as we pull them out.

You can see the NOAA ship Hi'ialakai in the background as their SAFEboat brings in the 5 people from Kure Atoll.

Enough of the depressing pictures. There is still a lot of life here, and our facilities are all still intact. For instance, here's Captain Brooks Tavern.

The white terns seemed to be mostly unaffected since they usually sit in trees or on raised objects. I have better white tern pics on my older posts.

This picture is really cool at full resolution, but it lost a bit when I shrunk it down. Since I went through the work, I'll post it. This green sea turtle was eating floating vegetation in the harbor.


Forest and Kim said...

Thanks for the info. Pete, glad the galley is ok. ;)

Marissa Buschow said...

Hurrah! I'm glad you guys got to rescue more wildlife. The earlier images were really heartbreaking and it's great to hear some optimism, especially from someone who's actually there.

Anonymous said...


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XJ said...

A whole batch of simply amazing pictures. Thanks for posting them.

Carol said...

Great blog and photos Pete! I was wondering what ever happened to the STAL chick? Did it's parents come back to feed it? Also wondering about the other chicks that were rescued, any thoughts on their survival rate? Are their parents coming back for them/able to find them? It's a fascinating story to follow. Thanks.

Nellie Northern said...

Great Photos Pete!

Glad to see that the Captn Brooks Tavern was un touched!

Mona & Nelson Klavitter

Pete Leary said...

Thanks again all for the comments. Carol. It's almost impossible to tell what the survival rate is for the rescued chicks since we can't tell them apart once we pulled them out. A lot of the washed away chicks have made their way back to their nests and the parents have found them. But we'll be trying to figure out as much as we can from this.

Anonymous said...

Pete: I have a question: do some albatrosses have the ability to regurgitate plastic? I'm sure it is bad for them, but there is so much of it I'm wondering if some birds manage to tolerate it by purging it.

This is a great blog, thanks for doing the good work out there. I was there as a kid when my dad was stationed there in the late 60s, my whole family looks back to our time there fondly.

Bruce Prickett

Anonymous said...

Thinking about plastic some more, it is obvious that the parent birds can regurgitate it, since they are feeding it to the chicks (you can imagine me slapping my forehead). But from the chick carcasses that are stuffed with plastic, many of the chicks fail to purge it. I could ask more questions about albatross feeding mechanics, but never mind...

Lana DeMars said...

Hey Pete, it is your old friend from the Nutrition Lab. Would you email me?

Hannah said...

I like albatrosses and mollymawks.