The albatross chicks have been given their flash new red bands today. These bands help the DoC rangers identify the birds – they will be uniquely re-banded when they return in a few years time as adolescents. On return, they will begin the courtship process before settling down with a mate.
The Royal Albatross Centre currently has 24 chicks in the colony, all but one of the chicks in sight of the viewing observatory are male! The chicks now weigh as much as their parents (maybe even more) and they are due to take their first steps off the Taiaroa Headland in the next month or two. The majority of the chicks weigh between 8-12kgs; they’ll need to lose a bit of weight in time for their imminent take off. The rangers managed to band all but one albatross chick today. They’ll retry in a couple of weeks when the albatross in question is in a better mood!
The 2013/14 breeding season has been the Royal Albatross Centre’s second most successful natural breeding season ever! We are looking forward to similar results next year. There has been well over 100 albatross seen flying around the headland recently and all of the current nests are fit, healthy and ready to take the leap of faith off Taiaroa Head to begin their life at sea.