Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Short-tailed Albatrosses George and Geraldine fledge the first documented chick from Midway Atoll’s Sand Island

“George” and “Geraldine”, a pair of globally Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatrosses Phoebastria albatrus, that have been attempting to breed on Sand Island in the USA’s Midway Atoll are thought to have fledged their first chick this year – and the first for the island (click here).  The albatross pair arrived on the island in late October 2018 within one day of each other, subsequently laying and incubating an egg which hatched on 3 January.

“George” (right) and “Geraldine” together on Midway in 2018, photograph by USFWS volunteer, Madalyn Riley

George stands by his 2019 chick, photograph by Bob Peyton

George, the male of the pair, a bird in adult plumage, has been visiting Midway Atoll since November 2006 (when known as “Lonesome George”).  He hatched from the colony on Japan’s Torishima in 2003 and was banded there as a chick.  Geraldine, an assumed younger bird, is still in sub-adult plumage and is suspected to be an individual that was banded on Torishima in April 2008.  She was first observed on Sand Island in early 2012.  The two birds were first seen together on the island in late 2016.  Last season (2017/18) the pair incubated a Black-footed Albatross P. nigripes egg, which hatched and resulted in a fledged chick.  Now they have fledged their own chick.

 

USFWS biologists Keely Hassett (left) and Kelly Goodale band the downy Short-tailed Albatross chick with Red AA08 on 6 May 2019

Banding photographs by Jon Pilssner from the Friends of Midway Atoll NWR

Previously, a different pair of Short-tailed Albatrosses bred successfully three times in four years on the atoll’s Eastern Island, fledging several chicks, the last one in 2014.

Read more postings on Midway’s Short-tailed Albatrosses on both Eastern and Sand Islands here and here.

With thanks to Madalyn Riley.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 10 June 2019

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