News of the annual census of incubating Laysan Phoebastria immutabilis and Black-footed P. nigripes Albatrosses on Kure Atoll in the North-western Hawaiian islands comes from the latest winter camp field report by Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources field biologist Ilana Nimz.
"The idea of the survey was to get complete coverage of island, totaling an area of 200 or so acres, and count all the birds incubating an EGG. I stress "egg" because some albatross that did not reproduce this season will practice sitting on a nest by incubating a light bulb, buoy, or even a pink golf ball, so they don't get counted.
"The Laysan Albatross total was 24,366 nests, an increase of over 3,000 nests from the 2011 numbers; the Black‐footed Albatross numbers decreased slightly from last year's 3,765 nests, totaling 3,434 nests. Only 1 Short‐tailed Albatross nest was counted, so there were sadly no other nests secretly hiding in the bushes or anything. Unfortunately, both Short‐tailed eggs were crushed and the birds abandoned their nest, but are still hanging out on the island." (click here for the whole report).
One of the female-female Short-tailed Albatross pair on Kure Atoll with their two eggs
Photograph courtesy of Cynthia Vanderlip
The Short-tailed Albatross P. albatrus pair is of two females that have each been laying an infertile egg in rhe same nest on Kure in the last couple of years (click here for news of a previous attempt by them and here for this season's attempt). Oh for a passing male!
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 29 January 2103