Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wisdom's Chick

It's nice to be back on Midway, after my 2 weeks working in Honolulu.  The big news is that Wisdom has another chick.  For those who don't know who Wisdom is, she's the oldest known wild bird, and is at least 63 years old, banded as an adult in 1956.  She still looking about the same as always.

The Short-tailed albatross chick is old enough to be left on its own now.  The parents don't leave for long when the chick is young, so they are feeding it frequently.  It has been very cool, windy, and a bit rainy for the past month or so, so the other albatross parents are aren't leaving them alone much yet.

This is Wisdom and her chick.  You can see a bit of Wisdom's red leg band on her right leg.  

 Here's another photo of Wisdom and her chick.

 This is the greenhouse over on Eastern Island.  It was originally built as a temporary Laysan duck home when they were first translocated from Laysan Island.  The greenhouse is empty right now because the weather has been so bad that the crew hasn't been able to spend much time over there.
 Here are some Black noddies on the roof of the hydroponics garden.  I don't go in there too much, but we had a tour for some folks from the regional USFWS office out here on a site visit.

 It wasn't the best day for hanging out on the beach, but it was OK for taking albatross pictures.

 A lot of marine debris has washed up on the beaches in the last month due to the wind.  This fishing float has quite a few barnacles growing on it.

 Most of the chicks are hatched now, but this in one of the later ones that is only one day old.

 This chick isn't quite ready to be left on its own, but the parent is giving it a little space.


Pete Prellwitz said...

Hey, Pete.
Welcome back to Midway. Pretty cool news about Wisdom and her new chick, as well as the short-tailed albatross.

I'm betting the ingested plastics problem is as bad as always. Do you know if there have been any studies done to try to track zones of lesser/greater pollution in the albatross feeding areas? Does the Pacific Garbage Patch play a role?

Seagull Steve said...

I really dig that noddy picture.

Jill said...

Hi Pete,

How is the vision?


Pete Leary said...

Thanks Steve and Pete and just fine, Jill.
There are quite a few studies going on with plastic pollution in the Pacific and ingestion by seabirds. There have been quite a few published recently too. Google Scholar is a good place to look up that primary literature if you are interested. The "Pacific Garbage Patch" does play a role, since there is a lot of plastic circulating around. The birds aren't always feeding in that area, but there is plastic just about everywhere to some degree, so they can get it anywhere.

Liz said...

Hi, love the noddy picture and thank you for updates on your blog. I'm really enjoying it. I spent a season on Laysan and am trying to figure out a way to get back. I've been pulling shots of albies and NWHI photos from the internet to put on my facebook cover page. May I use the noddy picture if I cite your blog as the source? i think it's a good tool for teaching the general public about seabirds and island habitat. Most people don't really know much about these parts. Thanks for the wonderful blog. Liz

Pete Leary said...

Hi Liz,
Thanks, go ahead and use it. I hope you can make it back out to the NWHI sometime.