New Zealand albatrosses to experience record breeding season
Large waves are seen off the south coast of Wellington in New Zealand on June 30, 2021. An Antarctic explosion swept across New Zealand from Tuesday, causing waves to rise up to 6 meters near the coast south of its capital. (Xinhua / Guo Lei)
A record 30 young northern royal albatrosses could leave the colony after a successful breeding season at Taiaroa Head Eco-Sanctuary in southern New Zealand, according to figures from the New Zealand Ministry of Conservation published Saturday.
Theo Thompson, Department of Conservation (DOC) biodiversity ranger, said: âIf all the remaining chicks fly successfully, we will have a record year of 30 chicks. Previously the highest number of chicks we had was 28.
Scientists used Royal Cam, a live streaming camera, to observe a female albatross called Tiaki that hatched on January 24.
Thompson said Tiaki is a calm but talkative chick who has been healthy all season.
And all the chicks grew steadily from hatching through January and February. They are all expected to have taken off (i.e. leaving the headland) by early October.
With a satellite tracker raised on the albatross’s back, people, not only professionals but also avid bird enthusiasts around the world, will continue to follow live where albatrosses go in their early years.
Theo Thompson said: âTiaki and the other chicks will spend the next four to ten years traveling thousands of miles at sea without once touching land, before finally returning to Taiaroa Head to breed. “
The trackers are taped to feathers on the backs of the birds. They are designed to last for about a year and will fall off when the albatross muera.
The Northern Royal Albatross is one of the largest seabirds in the world, with a wingspan of up to 3 meters.
It is a vulnerable species that has been affected by changes in habitat and climate and by certain fishing practices. They also reproduce slowly, with breeding pairs typically raising a chick once every two years.
The albatross colony, located at Taiaroa Head near Dunedin, on the South Island of New Zealand, is the only continental site in the world to observe the Northern Royal Albatross in its natural habitat. It went from a breeding pair in 1937 to over 60 pairs in 2020.