20 December 2007

Still a - 'Trossoling

My apologies for not posting with the frequency that I have in the past. We are still working the albtross on the island pretty hard. Working on a Black-footed Albatross (Diomedea nigripes), Laysan Albatross (D. immutabilis) on nest in foreground.

There are alot of albatross on this little island. Early on I mentioned that ~ 6000 BFAL's breed on French Frigate Shoals, while ~ 2000 LAAL's do. On Tern I., this year, there have been atleast as many Laysan as there are Black-footed Albtross.

The Laysan Albatross' population is estimated at about 2.5 million, making it the most abundant spp. of albatross in the Northern Hemisphere. Incidentally, one-third of the LAAL population breed out on Midway Island.

Despite losing hundreds of thousands of breeders early in the 20th century to feather hunters and military development, this species has fairly recently colonized new breeding grounds in the main Hawaiian Islands, the Bonin Islands, and islands off the Mexican coast.

A common name given to the Laysan is Gooney Bird. This name perhaps comes from the way it walks; fairly upright, bobbig its head up and down.

Also, in low wind conditions, it has a tough time putting on the air brakes when coming in for a landing. This results in some pretty comical crash landing and belly slides. But any landing a Gooney bird can walk away from is a good landing.

Maybe they get that name from looks like the picture above. Anyhow, I'm not sure they care for that term. And with perhaps 4000 of them on Tern, I just call them Laysan's.

The Black-footed Albatross is nocticeably more aggresive than the Laysan. But that being said, these are great birds to work with. Having no natural predators, they are fairly approachable and have incredible personalities.

There are far fewer Black-footed's than Laysans; only a few 100, 000's. That is due largely to drift nets and long-line fishing fatalities. But measure have been taken and work by biologists and the fishing industry has seen populations rise. But the problem is still there.

I have to run and get ready for work. I hope everyone is having a good morning.
**Albatross have to run as well, to generate enough speed to create lift. That's why windy days are good, with less of a runway to use. Less windy days, they need more runway to take off. Pilots, and former ATC's, sound familiar?**

Happy Holidays.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The pictures are remarkable.
Your narrative is engaging and informative, as always.
Forgive me if that sounds like a short note written at the end of an "A" paper. Hard to break the habit.
Even so, the truth remains...great entry.