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.
There is excitement on Taiaroa Head. The Royal Cam chick for 2022 pipped its egg today and the NZ DOC rangers promptly removed that egg from under YRK replacing it with a dummy. Why you ask? Fly strike is when flies lay their eggs, in the hot summer months, on various things including hatching Albatross chicks. Fly strike can be fatal as the fly eggs hatch into maggots that eat their host. So, for the safety of the very endangered Royal Albatross, the eggs are removed at pip to hatch in an incubator. The chick will be returned to the parents to feed and brood as soon as it is safe to do so. Last time OGK was on the nest. Wonder if he will fly in just time time for the return of the chick? Oh, it is so exciting.
The NZ DOC made a short video of the removal of the egg:
At the end of the day, the Kisatchie National Forest yet-to-be-named eaglet was fed 14 times between 06:52 and 17:41. That is 14 feedings in 10 hours and 45 minutes. Wow.
Anna wanted to feed the little eaglet at 17:08 but the baby had something over its beak. You can see it in the image below. Turns out it is some of Anna’s underbelly feathers. Anna tried to feed the chick but it could eat with that big wad over its beak.
Anna realizes the problem and begins to pull the fluff off the little one.
To the relief of everyone, Anna removed the fluff without a problem and the baby had its penultimate feeding of the day.
This is one of the most hilarious Bald Eagle couples I have ever seen. Louis fills the nest with food, so much it could not possibly be eaten. If he comes around to try and have a snack without having to go fishing, Anna perks up.
This is precisely what happened below. Anna was brooding the eaglet and she sees Louis arriving. She makes this very interesting vocalization and gets up and goes over to move a piece of fish. Louis is watching all of this. The little one says, ‘Sure, Mum, if you want me to, I will eat again!’
Louis decides he will be cool and he plays ‘hide the baby’ while Anna is trying to feed the eaglet (again). In the end, Louis winds up digging in the nest and finding a piece of old fish bone which he takes with his beak and flies off the nest. Meanwhile, the little eaglet is still being fed by Mum! That was the last feeding documented before the camera froze. Maybe you had to be watching. The interaction between these two parents is so funny. Louis did do something very useful today. He brought in some more branches to build up the walls of the nest. There are places with holes in them that will need to be covered.
Dad delivered Ervie’s breakfast fish to the nest at 08:30:59.
Ervie was so happy when he saw Dad flying in with a fish.
Later, the cam operator gave everyone some really nice close ups of Ervie staring at the water looking for fish.
I made a short video clip. It was wonderful to see Ervie interested in the water and the fish! Enjoy. There is a severe weather warning for Port Lincoln. The warning is for intense rainfall, severe warnings for heavy rain beginning at 16:00. Later in the evening possibilities of thunder and lighting. Stay safe Osprey family!
At the WRDC nest, it has been hot. Tomorrow they are looking for temperatures around 18 with a 40% chance of rain. I am happy to report that R2 ate and both eaglets seemed perky and happy. In the image below, R1 is full and looking out of the nest while R2 is eating.
Happy sleeping babies.
CROW has announced a virtual speaker series. Some of you might be interested. The guest is Ron Magill, ‘Mr Miami Zoo’ who is responsible for this human made nest for Ron and Rita. It sounds like a really interesting topic.
It will get down to 11 degrees C at the nest of Samson and Gabby in Jacksonville, Florida. That is 51.8 F. There is a chance of rain on Saturday.
The American Eagle Foundation posted the following information today about hatching. Super informative as we wait for Gabby and Samson’s eggs to pip!
Hatching is hard work. Before starting to break out of the egg the chick has three things it must accomplish. It must ﬁrst switch from being dependent on the oxygen diﬀusing through the pores in the eggshell into the network of blood vessels that line the inner surface of the shell and start to use its own lungs to breathe. The chick takes its ﬁrst proper breath and ﬁlls its lungs the moment it punctures the air cell inside the top of the egg. (Internal Pip) This step is essential because by this stage of development there is not enough oxygen diﬀusing through the pores in the shell to support the chick’s respiratory requirements. Taking a breath from the air cell provides the oxygen and the energy necessary to break through the eggshell. Before it takes that ﬁrst breath, the chick has to start shutting oﬀ the blood supply to the network of blood vessels that line the inner surface of the shell, and withdraw that blood into its body. The blood vessels are programmed to close oﬀ at the point where they emerge from the bird’s umbilicus, and just before the chick starts cutting round the shell. Third, the chick has to take what is left of the yolk and draw it into its abdomen. It does this by sucking up the remaining yolk through the stalk that connects the yolk to the chick’s small intestines. This “yolk sac” is a food reserve for the ﬁrst few hours or days after hatching.
Hopefully we will have a pip tomorrow at NEFlorida. We are also watching the Achieva Osprey nest of Jack and Diane. There have been gifts of food and mating on the nest. Diane normally lays her eggs on the 22 or 23rd of January. Oh, so close! Stay tuned for news. So we are on pip watch, hatch watch, and egg watch! Crazy.
Take care everyone. Thank you so much for joining me today. See you soon.
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots and my video clips: Port Lincoln Osprey Project, KNF, NEFlorida Eagle Cam and the AEF, and the WRDC.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation takes care of the country’s wildlife. If there is a problem, especially one created by humans, there will be ways to intervene on behalf of the non-humans. The country is quite amazing. I have a dear friend who lives there who says, “New Zealander’s love their birds and what the government is doing to protect them”. The only other comment my friend has is that they hope the country will end the use of coal.
During 2021, the NZ government will be undertaking a broad study of the Northern Royal Albatross. A part of this study will involve attaching trackers to birds on Chatham Islands as well as the mated pair that are the parents of the Royal Cam chick at Taiaroa Head. The solar powered trackers are extremely light and weigh 20 grams. They are placed on the back feathers and will stay in place until the first moult, approximately one year. You might remember from an earlier posting that Australia put a tracker on Solly, the female Eastern Osprey, born on the barge at Port Lincoln this year. Already Solly is changing what is known about those amazing sea birds and the tracking of the Albatross will yield, hopefully, good results, too.
Lime-Green-Black (LGK) was on the nest so his transmitter was attached today. When Lime-Green-Lime (LGL) returns to relieve LGK from his feeding duties, the rangers will attach hers.
Below is an image of LGK spreading his wings. You can see his tracker. And look! there is the chick looking at its dad. Hopefully the information the trackers provide new information for the researchers. At the same time, we know that these transmitters are able to show how close the albatross are to legal fishing vessels as well as illegal. Perhaps, some way, they can help bring about international legislation to end fishing practices that cause these gentle birds to become bycatch.
The New Zealand DOC is extremely active ridding Taiaroa of predators that humans have introduced. Those in need of protection that are listed as vulnerable, endangered, or near threatened include the Otago Shag, the Northern Royal Albatross, the Sooty Shearwater, and the Red-billed Gull. The predators that have required eradication are stoats, rabbits, hedgehogs, and feral cats. The DOC has various methods that they use to capture these animals. In their information, they indicate that they gauge their success rate by the number of chicks that are alive not by the number of predators that are caught. Increased heat causes more flies and there are issues with fly strike and newborn albatross. Rangers spray the nest with an insecticide to eliminate this issue.
There are other human introduced issues to other wildlife at Taiaroa such as the Blue Penguin. The rising heat from climate change, fishing net, line, and hooks, marine pollution such as oil spills, chemical spills, and plastic are among the direct threats caused by humans.
Halfway around the world from New Zealand is tiny Gough Island.
They are separated by 10,964 km (6812.7 miles) and yet Taiaroa Head has much in common with Gough – mainly, Albatross! Gough Island is rugged and is a UK territory and it is home to the Tristan Albatross which is on the verge of extinction by human introduced rats that have grown into mega-sized monsters.
In the 19th century, sailors brought mice with them when they arrived on Gough. They have no natural predators on the islands. The mice learned to love the taste of the Albatross eggs and the chicks. With no where to flee, the birds were literally ‘sitting ducks’ so to speak for the mice who grew into enormous rats. They are so big and so bold now that they are attacking even larger sea birds and endangering the Atlantic Petrel and the MacGillivray prion. They are, in fact, able to eat a large seabird whole and alive. Cameras have caught the rat behaviour and it is alarming. The rats gather at night and form groups. As many as nine will attack a nest.
The operation is due to take place in 2020. Given the location of the island, it is an enormous logistical challenge.
It involves chartering a ship from South Africa, which will carry two helicopters and a load of poisonous, cereal pellets. These will then be spread across the island by the helicopters. They contain an anticoagulant which should kill the mice within 24 hours.
The eradication of the mega-rats was supposed to happen in 2020 but will now take place this year. And it is a seriously difficult task. In fact, sitting on the Canadian Prairies, this seems like a logistics nightmare. Gough Island is tiny and in the middle of the Atlantic. The plan, as I understand it, is to charter a ship in South Africa that will then travel over some of the roughest seas in the world carrying helicopters and poisonous cereal pellets. They will be dropped from the helicopters onto the island. The poison that will be used is the same type as that which people are lobbying to be banned. I have been writing about this since the death of Peace and Hope at the Captiva Nest.
Of course, before any of this can happen any birds or other animals on Gough will need to be removed safely. I wish I could ask someone questions. What happens to the cereal pellets that aren’t eaten? could the poison go into the soil? what if there are cereal pellets left and the returning birds eat them? I am sure that these have been answered somewhere because the debate on how best to deal with the issue of the ever-growing rats and rat population on Gough has been on going for at least a decade.
Updates: Gabby is feeding E24 a gourmet meal of squirrel and fish. And this little one is so cute. When mom gets up it follows her big yellow beak because it knows that food is coming. Its eyes, feathers, and general overall appearance, despite the mass of nasty mosquitoes at night, seem fantastic. There appears to be no more change to the egg.
E18 was wanting more of the fresh catfish and then…
E17 woke up and noticed! E17 immediately came over and demanded to be fed while pulling at the little one’s wing. This kid really needs a time out.
E18 is, however, learning how to deal with the issue. It goes down in a pose of submission but making sure its back is to the larger sibling. This protects its head and neck.
Both eaglets had big crops and after two bites, E17 fell over in a food coma and the little fella turned back around and ate lots more fish. Good work around E18! Maybe you will give your sis another one of those mysterious wing pokes today!!! Bad old sister.
Ah, sweet. Nothing like having a fresh catfish dinner by yourself.
Proud parents, M15 on the left and Harriet on the right are really enjoying having their babies back. I know many worried that they might not accept them but from the evidence above all is well. Including E17 being a little stinker!
The bitter cold that hit Canada, that Polar Vortex, dipped way down into the United States including the eagle nests along the Mississippi River. Historically, Starr has laid her eggs around the middle of February. She is seen in the image below on the right with one of the Valors to the left (apologies I can only identify them from the front). Ground watchers say that the trio have been working on the nest despite the very blistery cold weather. They have also reported that Starr spent last night sleeping on the nest. Eggs coming soon!
It’s a great photo actually showing the difference in size between the female (on the right) and the male (on the left).
The cold weather in the US is treacherous. The birds are definitely not used to these types of dipping temperatures. Many spend the winter in Kansas and Oklahoma and do not migrate. I wonder if this winter might change that. It is being reported in Kansas that the beautiful hawks are freezing. Many are being rescued by kind individuals. If you live in areas where there are hawks, put the number of the local wildlife rehabilitation clinic on your cell phone in case you see a bird that needs help and you don’t know what to do. Thank you!
All of the eagles and the Albies are doing good today. There is news coming out of Pennsylvania, despite the cold weather than another mated pair of Bald Eagles have laid their first ever egg. It is eggciting! News on that later tonight in a quick update on that and I plan to check in on Solly and she where she is today. Wonder what new records that beautiful Eastern Osprey is breaking today?
Stay safe everyone. If you are in the area of this extreme cold weather, stay inside. Make sure your cell phone is charged. Stay warm. Double up your socks. Whatever you need to keep well.
Thank you so much for stopping by. It is so nice to have you with me.
Thank you to Cornell Lab Cams, the NZ DOC, the SWFL cam and D. Pritchett family, and the NEFL streaming cam where I grab my images.
How could anyone forget about Lime-Green-Black and his beautiful baby chick? One of the countries that I often applaud is New Zealand. I have a good friend and colleague who lives there and he is quick to say that New Zealanders love their birds! He wishes they would do more to clean up the coal industry but, he is thrilled at what they do for their wildlife. And that is where we are going to begin today: the Royal Albatross Colony on Taiaroa Head. It is on the southern Island near Dunedin.
It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. And we are checking on the Royal Albatross couple, LGL and LGK. I know. What is with all the letters, right? The New Zealand Department of Conservation puts coloured bands on the Royal Albatross. They have specific date ranges for the beginning colour so that the Rangers can tell immediately the approximate age of the sea bird they are trying to identify. So our couple is: Lime-Green-Lime (female) and Lime-Green-Black (male). You might think that Black should be B but that goes to Blue. So K is used for Black.
LGL and LGK have been a mated pair since 2017. Albatross mate for life. If one dies, then it is hoped that they find a new mate. And sometimes, there are divorces! Or Threesomes. It can get complicated. But, generally, we consider them a mated pair for life which can be very long, into the 60s and 70s.
LGL laid their egg on November 7, 2020. The parents each took turns incubating the egg so that the other could go out to sea to feed. The incubation period is approximately 80 days. The NZ DOC rangers check the eggs early to find out if they are fertile and they continue to check them. Near to hatch, they check closely as they will remove the egg and replace it with a dummy egg. This allows the chick to hatch in an incubator. It is returned to the parent once it has hatched and is dry. At that time the Rangers sprayed the nest with an insecticide so that no fly larvae can get on the wee one. The insecticide is not harmful. Until such a time as the chick can regulate its own temperature and it is safe to leave it on the nest by itself, the parents will continue their rotation. One will keep the chick warm and feed it while the other is out to sea fishing. This nesting period lasts ten months. The laying the egg and the nesting period is so hard on the Albatross that they only have one chick every 2 years. As it happens, LGL and LGK were the Royal Cam parents in 2019 and their little one received a Maori name, Karere. It means ‘Messenger’.
I bet you are wondering about the names. Normally, the people of New Zealand submit possible names for the Royal cam chick. A number are selected for a final judging and a committee picks one of these. And that becomes the name. The individual who submitted the winning name gets a trip to see the Royal cam chick in person. In practice, only Royal cam chicks get names but they also get coloured bands. In 2020, because of the pandemic, no one could see the chick so the decision was made to open the naming contest to everyone in the world. The winning name for the female, known fondly as Pippa, was Atawhai. Atawhai means ‘kindness and caring’ in Maori.
One thing that I noted in checking the history of this Royal Cam couple is that both of their chicks hatched on the same day, 24 January. Karere in 2019 and this little one in 2021.
Look at that beautiful little baby being fed by its dad, LGK?
The parent teaches them to feed by tapping on their bill. In the image above you can see the chick with its bill inside the parents being fed a nice ‘squid shake’. It does not take long for the chick to figure out the tapping so that they can stimulate the parent to feed them. The parents regurgitate an oil squid liquid from a second stomach for the feedings.
In the image below, LGK (the male) is looking on as the chick is weighed. Remember that the chick hatched on 24 January. The weighing that you are seeing was 2 February. It is normal that the chick would be weighed inside a small sock. If you look carefully you will see a linen bag in front of the elbow of the ranger doing the weigh in. The chick needed a bigger bag! Oh, my goodness. This little one is growing so fast. Only nine days old and already needing to be upsized.
Now, everyone likes to speculate on the gender of the chick and there are also games played on how how much weight the chick has gained over the week. I am going right out there and saying that this is a little boy. Male albatrosses are bigger than the females. (It is the opposite for raptors such as Bald Eagles, Peregrine falcons, Red tail Hawks, etc.). We should know in about a week.
Any chick weighing more than 500 grams will only be weighed once a day, not twice. So, what I know is that this little one is more than 500 grams but it is only being weighed once. Someone mentioned 660 grams or 1.4 lbs. But I have to verify that.
This is an image from the weighing yesterday. You can see the linen bag instead of the sock much more clearly.
The proud parent looks on waiting very patiently for the return of their baby! All is well with our little one.
The picture below is priceless. Can you spot that little cutie pie poking its head out? Precious.
I have learned so much about these beautiful birds. The Southern Albatross are the largest seabirds in the world with an average wing span of in excess of 3 metres or 9.8 feet. (I should mention that for a very long time it was thought that the Wandering Albatross was the largest both in wingspan and bulk but recent studies indicate that it is the Southern Royal Albatross or that they are the same.) When they are adults they will weigh about 8.5 kilograms or 18.73 pounds. Wow. Our little one has a long way to go. Once our chick fledges (or flies out to sea), they will spend four to six years on the ocean feeding and growing before they ever set their paddle feet on land. In fact, they have ‘sea legs’. You have probably heard that term. They can be quite wobbly. They will return to where they were born, as juveniles, looking for a mate. But they will not breed that year.
The parents are very tender with one another. They do sky calls, holding their head up proudly to the sky, and they preen one another. They see one another when they switch incubating and nesting duties. Once this chick fledges which is normally in September, they will not see one another again until the following November, if both survive. They are remarkable sea birds. I like to call them ‘Gentle Giants’.
The Albie on the right is doing a sky call. They will raise their long neck as if looking straight to the sky and give out what some call a ‘high pitched screaming bray’. Some say it sounds like a donkey! Not so sure about that but, maybe. Definitely higher pitched. When one or another of the parents arrive, they will often do a series of sky calls. In this instance it is really a way to say ‘hello’. Eventually the little one will copy their parents in the welcome.
Good Morning E17 and E18! The good news about our little eaglets from Harriet and M15’s aerie in Fort Myers is that they had their eyes open this morning with little to no discharge. Isn’t that fantastic? E-17 still has mild irritation in its right eye and conjuctivitis in both eyes. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I checked. We used to call it pink eye! It is an inflammation of the clear membrane that lines the eyes and covers the white part of our eyeball. You will have seen someone, maybe even yourself, where the blood vessels are visible. This is when they are inflamed and the white of the eye will appear pink or very red. That is what E-17 is fighting. E18 eyes are better. Both are really eating well. E17 is now 385 grams while E18 is 295 grams. If you have forgotten the weights from my last posting. E17 was 285 grams and has gained 100 grams and E18 was 220 grams and has gained 65 grams. Oh, they just look so much better and they are definitely gaining weight. This is so good. Maybe they can be delivered back to their parents by the end of the week. Let’s all send them warm wishes cheering them on. It looks like the antibiotics are starting to work.
There is also some good news for our Bald Eagles at Duke Farms. The snow gently fell again last night but by noon today (3 February), we can now see that it is beginning to melt off parts of the nest. Oh, this pair of eagles will surely be wanting spring to arrive. Just like I am. It is -4 and grey today. Cold to the bone but it is at least not -26 like it was a few days ago.
Take care everyone. Stay safe. Thank you so much for stopping in to check on the birds around the world with me. I hope that you have a really nice day!
And if you are looking for a different poster to send out about rodenticides, here is another. All our creatures will thank you for spreading the word. This is especially good if you live near a Bald Eagle nest.
There is been much sadness in the world of birds. But there is also a lot of happiness. The sheer joy that our feathered friends have given to millions trapped inside their rooms or homes this past year, during the pandemic, is to be celebrated. Over and over again I heard from people with physical disabilities who were entirely empathetic with the situation that WBSE 26 found itself in when no one thought she would be able to walk, never mind fly. Many said that seeing that little bird try so hard gave them the courage not to give up. Those letters were really heart warming. A woman in England told me that she was bedridden and dying of liver cancer but getting up in the morning and watching first the hawks in Ithaca and then the falcons in Melbourne gave her strength. And from my last post, you will know that the sea eagles and Daisy were the reason my friend, Phyllis, got up in the morning. So, never underestimate the power that nature has in lifting spirits. Daisy brought us so much joy and while we are distraught that she did not get to see her precious eggs hatch into ducklings, we are thankful for the time we got to learn about her and the behaviour of all the other birds around her, including the sea eagles. They were simply perplexed! I am most happy to know that Daisy is safe.
Tonight there is word from the wildlife clinic that handles SW Florida, CROW, that the little eaglets, E17 and E18 might be well enough from their eye infections to be returned to their parents, Harriet and M15 in Fort Myers tomorrow. That is wonderful news. The parents wait on the branch of the nest tree for the little ones to return.
People noticed the little ones eyes getting more and more crusty. Reports went in and permission was given to retrieve them. The little ones are doing well on the antibiotics. Thrilling that they might be rejoined with Harriet and M15 so soon.
In New Zealand, the Royal Cam chick is growing by leaps and bounds. There the Royal Albatross have round the clock care. Once the eggs begin to pip they are moved inside to an incubator to hatch and a dummy egg placed under the parent. Once the little one has hatched it is returned. The reason for this is fly strike. The rangers continually check the chicks twice a day weighing them and doing supplemental feeds for any chicks or parents that need it. Nothing is left to chance. The New Zealand Department of Conservation and the people love their birds. They are aware of how much climate change has impacted the wildlife and they are doing everything possible to not allow any declines in populations.
The little Royal Albies are so tiny that they are weighed in a sock. But they grow so fast that they quickly outgrow that and move to the laundry basket! Parents take turns on the nest. One heads out to sea to feed while the other ones remains at Taiaroa taking care of the chick. When the chick is old enough, it is left on its own while both parents forage at sea. This is such an exhausting process that the Royal Albatross only have a chick every two years.
The chicks are fed from squid in a second stomach of the parent which is regurgitated in a rich oily liquid that helps the baby grow. The little one learns right away that tapping the bill of their parent will stimulate this process. When the Albie is older and can walk but not fly, they run to meet their parents so they can have some squid shake.
If you are interested in watching the Royal Albatross, Cornell University and the NZ DOC support a 24/7 cam. You can find it at: