Six Short-tailed Albatross decoys are on their way back to Kure Atoll, but a real one has already shown up

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Big birdie!  Held by supporters, this freshly painted Short-tailed Albatross decoy (along with five more) is on its way back to Kure Atoll this month, photograph from the
Facebook page of Hawaiian artist, Patrick Ching

Hawaiian artist, Patrick Ching who added the paint, writes “These life-sized decoys will help bring the live ones down to earth at Hōlanikū (Kure Atoll)”.  They were due to be shipped out on 8 May along with the summer field team who will install them in a central location on the atoll’s Green Island.  Watch a shore video of the artist adding the final touch here.

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Ready for repainting: six Short-tailed Albatross decoys await the artist,
photograph from the Facebook page of Hawaiian artist, Patrick Ching

This will not be the first time Short-tailed Albatross decoys have been deployed on Kure Atoll, the same six being reported as “recently installed” around the time of the 2014/15 breeding season.  They had faded exposed to all weathers and so had been returned to be repainted.

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Kure Atoll’s latest arrival, No. 750, photograph by Sarah Donahue

Meanwhile, a Short-tailed Albatross “with phase 4 plumage” was photographed on Kure Atoll late last month (click here).  The bird carried both a metal and a white numbered plastic band (No. 750), which identified it as having come from Japan’s Torishima, the main home of the species.

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The female-female Short-tailed Albatross pair on Kure Atoll in 2013, photograph by Cynthia Vanderlip

Starting in 2010 to at least 2018 a female-female Short-tailed Albatross pair laid two infertile eggs each season on Kure Atoll (click here).  One was metal banded with 13A-1456 as a chick on Torishima in 2000 (and was photographed on Kure in intermediate plumage in 2015).  The other in adult plumage was banded as a chick with 13A-0703 in 1993, also on Torishima.  Both birds were banded by Short-tailed Albatross doyen Hiroshi Hasegawa.  It is uncertain whether either bird has been back on on Kure since 2018, but their usual breeding site is not often visited, so they could have been missed if only making short visits..  From time to time single Short-tailed Albatrosses have been reported from Kure (click here).

With thanks to Cynthia Vanderlip for information.

John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 10 May 2024

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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