OGK sees his chick for the first time!

OGK returns to Taiaroa Head, the home of the Royal Albatross colony, at the end of the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand on the 28th of January 2022.

“Taiaroa Head Lighthouse, NZ” by Don Shearman

OGK (Orange-Green-Black) has been away from the Quarry Track nest for five (5) full days and a lot has happened while he has been foraging out on the seas. His chick, the Royal Cam chick for 2022, hatched at 19:40 on the 26th of January. On the nest when the chick was returned from the incubator was OGK’s mate of fifteen (15) years, YRK (Yellow-Red-Black).

Before anyone could even sense that OGK was near, YRK started looking around and then she broke into a sky call at 12:32:19.

At 12:33:07, OGK appears. He has landed up above and walked down to the Quarry Track where the nest is located.

OGK breaks into a sky call as he gets nearer to the nest and YRK. Sky calls are a way of greeting.

The formality of the greeting was followed by gentle allopreening between the couple.

Preening is when a bird grooms its own feathers. Allopreening is when it grooms the feathers of another bird. In the case of this Royal cam couple, the allopreening is a form of bonding, of renewing their ties, of a rite of courtship.

The Royal Albatross spend so much time away. The opportunities when they switch duties when there is a small chick on the nest are rare moments. When the chick is older, they will both be out foraging. They may or may not arrive back at the nest at the same times. In the past we have been lucky to see them and to watch them spend time together.

YRK stops and spends some time sitting on the grass by OGK and their chick before leaving for foraging. She departs at 12:45.

OGK is perfectly content brooding his new chick!

The NZ Department of Conservation put together a short information page about Albatross behaviours. They might have included some you have been wondering about. Check it out!

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/birds/birds-a-z/albatrosses/royal-albatross-toroa/royal-cam/royal-albatross-behaviour-on-and-off-royal-cam/

Here is a short video clip by Liz of YRK feeding the chick. It is absolutely fascinating and a delight to see how this wee bill and Mum’s go together to get nourishment. The chick is checked two times a day and weighted to ensure that it is getting enough ‘squid shake’. If not, the rangers will step in and supplement the feeding. There are no worries here. The chick is steadily gaining weight!

The Royal Albatross are so gentle and so loving. The streaming cam for the Royal Cam couple of the year is certainly a place to turn to if you are feeling stressed out by the happenings on other nests. It is very calming for the soul. You will also gain an acute appreciation of the New Zealand Government and its Department of Conservation. All of the birds are cared for. They get medical attention, spraying when it is too hot, and supplementary feedings whether they are a chick or an adult. It is certainly a place that gives back to these beautiful sea creatures for all the joy they bring us.

Here is a link to the live streaming cam. It won’t be long until there will be a contest for the name of the chick. That is always exciting.

Thank you so much for joining me. It is just wonderful news that OGK is home safe! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the Cornell Bird Lab and the NZ DOC for their streaming cam where I took my screen captures.

Just a quick note: My Friday blog might be late. The garden birds will finish off all their seed and suet tomorrow so I will be off to replenish their stock. I am hoping that the weather is conducive to checking out some more of our local birds. Maybe even see that Bald Eagle! Wish me luck.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann so much for the update news on the Albatross chick! So glad dad OGK has returned and now with his new chick. Somehow I think they must know and it’s amazing! YRK will go forage and be back soon I think. I love their skycalls and all preening! It so lovely like no other. Thanks also for the photos and the video and link to watch them. What great news! It has made my day.
    Have a great evening and I’ll look forward to tomorrow’s newsletter.
    Linda

    1. You are more than welcome. I am just home and have only checked on the Kisatchie Nest. Linda, they are giving tours to see the eagles and loaning spotting scopes. You should sign up. February 10, 17, and 19 at 10 am.

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