Royal Cam Chick Hatches!

YRK and OGK laid their egg at the Quarry Track nest, created by OGK, on 9 November 2021. Yellow-Red-Black (YRK) and Orange-Green-Black (OGK) are no stranger to the Royal Cam spotlight. They are the parents of the very popular Miss Pippa Atawhai, Royal Cam Chick at Top Flat in 2020. The moments viewing Atawhai with her dad, OGK, melted people’s hearts. Those who watched these very gentle birds will never forget the pair of them together.

YRK is 28 years old and OGK is 26 years old. They have been a bonded pair since 2006. This year is their 8th breeding attempt. They are also grandparents. This year their son RLK (Red-Lime-Black) successfully fledged SSTrig, the chick in the nest close to Royal Cam chick, Tiaki.

It took five days for the little one to hatch. The rangers say that the reason it takes the seabirds so long to get out of their shells is that they are such long lived birds. The Royal Cam chick is the 11th to hatch this season.

Ranger Sharyn returned the new hatchling to its mother, YRK, at 19:40 on 26 January. Before placing the chick under the mother, the area of the nest is sprayed with a bird-friendly insecticide in order that there is no fly strike on the youngster.

Ranger Sharyn carefully removes the chick from the insulated container.

She has already removed the dummy egg and sprayed the nest area before placing the chick under YRK.

Ranger Sharyn watches with delight as YRK accepts her little one.

YRK gives a shimmy and settles down to brood.

Once Ranger Sharyn is away, YRK raises up and looks down with the most gentle love to the new bundle.

It is extremely windy today. I wonder when OGK will fly in to relieve YRK and have his first look at the baby?????

Southern Royal Albatross are endemic to New Zealand. After the chick hatches, it will fledge in mid-September, spending 4-6 years at sea foraging for food in the waters off the coast of western Chile. Then the juvenile will return to Tairoa Head to find a mate. This choosing and bonding could take years. These seabirds are known for their socializing and elaborate dancing as well as the beautiful sky calls.

Once a couple have bonded, they will lay one egg every two years. Why not every year? It is too physically difficult to raise chicks that close together. The adults have to travel many hundreds if not thousands of miles to forage to feed their chick. They each take turns incubating. Once the chick has hatched they will take turns flying in and out of the headland to forage and feed their chick. They will do this until the chick fledges and begins its life on the sea. Imagine flying for the first time and not landing back on ground for another 4-6 years. I often cannot get my head around that!

The Albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird at 3 metres or 9.8 feet. They stand 115-123 cm or 45-48 inches and weight 8.5 kg or 19 lbs. The males are larger than the females.

The population of the Southern Royal Albatross is vulnerable and stable at the moment. The challenges they face are longline and trawl fisheries, oil and plastic waste in the sea waters, natural disasters, and warming seas as part of climate change. The New Zealand Department of Conservation makes every effort to ensure that all of the Royal Albatross on Taiaroa Head are healthy. They provide supplemental feedings to both chicks and adults as well as elaborate sprinkler systems to cool the birds and medical care.

Here is the video of Ranger Sharyn returning the chick to YRK:

Here is a very short video by Liz of YRK revealing the chick three times.

You can watch the streaming cam for YRK and OGK here:

What wonderful news! I have peeked at all of the other nests and everyone is fine.

Ervie looked like a wet rat Wednesday afternoon late in Australia.

Ervie was alone on the barge last night while the rain is caught by the camera pelting down.

Thankfully the rain has stopped!

Gabby has been giving Samson time to brood the babies and feed them. Both 26 and 27 are doing very well! Gabby is much more relaxed this year with her third clutch.

Aren’t they so cute??

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen captures: the Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC, Port Lincoln Osprey Project, and the NEBald Eagle Nest and the AEF.


  1. Mary Ann, thanks for another wonderful report! I’m especially excited about the new Albatross baby!! And it boggles my mind also that they don’t touch down for 5 years after they fledge. How do they sleep? (Does floating on the water count as landing?) The more I find out about these beautiful, gentle birds the more they amaze me.

    Thank you for other news as well. Hopefully all will be well with all the eggs and babies over the next few months.

    1. Apparently they power nap in flight for about 10-12 seconds in a burst. It is so hard to comprehend. Such beautiful gentle birds. Looking forward to this little one getting to see its dad! And thank you. You are very welcome.

      1. You’re right – hard to comprehend! Thanks for answering my question, Mary Ann.
        Hope you’re having a good evening and staying warm there!

  2. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann! I made a comment earlier today and when said error and it didn’t go through.
    It is such good news about the little baby Albatross! So wonderful! ❤️ Congratulations to them!
    YRK is so happy and I can’t wait for Dad to come and see their little one too!❤️❤️
    Ervie sure was wet! I hope he had a good day today and dried out and got plenty of fish!❤️
    The little bittys at Damson Andy Gabby’s nest are so adorable! 💕💕
    Thanks so much for the lovely photos and updates.
    Have a great evening Mary Ann! I look forward to the new updates tommorrow!

    1. You are so very welcome. Isn’t it wonderful to see that little Albatross. They are such gentle loving seabirds. I cannot wait for OGK to get home. It will be a beautiful reunion. YRK will be so happy to show him the little one. The two of Gabby and Samson are melting hearts. They definitely are. Glad your comment came through. I am sorry when those error signs come up. I honestly don’t know what causes that! I imagine it is quite irritating!!!!!!! So sorry.

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