There is big news from Bird Island – Bobby our grey-headed albatross chick has fledged!
Bobby was first laid as an egg all the way back in October and he hatched in December. Now Bobby is finally answering the call of the ocean and has left his home to explore the big wide world.
Dad Skylander has done a brilliant job of raising Bobby. As a grey-headed albatross the dad takes on most of the parenting responsibilities. He sat on the egg for the majority of its 70-day incubation period and has since been regularly delivering food to Bobby.
This meant numerous trips out to the ocean to find fish, requiring him to fly hundreds of kilometres on a regular basis to keep his demanding chick happy. As a result, Bobby was often alone on the nest, but our grey-head made use of all this free time to moult out fluffy chick down and reveal gorgeous adult feathers. We have been watching as wings have stretched and flying muscles have strengthened ready for the big day.
Even though Bobby has left Bird Island, this isn’t the end of our journey together. The team of scientists who are currently resident on the island fitted Bobby and 15 grey-headed friends with satellite trackers as part of a study by the British Antarctic Survey. These tags send regular updates of the locations of the birds so that we can keep an eye on how far the fledglings have flown. Unfortunately Bobby's tag recently stopped working so we are unable to track his whereabouts specifically, however the rest of the birds tags are working well so we can continue to watch their progress. You can track Bobby's friends here: https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/grey-headed-albatross-juvenile-tracking/
This link shows you how far the new fledglings are flying on their first trip away from Bird Island. Some of them have already flown an incredible 6000 km – not bad for a first flight! It's awe-inspiring to observe their maiden voyages across the sea.
Bobby will soon be reaching crazy speeds of up to 127km/hour (we think our fledgling will be an adrenaline junkie just like dad Skylander) and travelling for thousands of miles in search of food. Bobby won’t return to Bird Island now for around 7 years. Instead, Bobby will be perfecting skills on the wing and racing the wind. When Bobby does finally return, it’ll be time to start thinking about finding a mate for life and turning attention to parenthood – but that’s a long way off. First Bobby needs to enjoy adolescence!
It will be a few months yet until we see our wandering albatross chick follow suit, so continue to stay tuned with #AlbatrossStories whilst we watch its progress on Bird Island – as well as keeping track of Bobby’s first trip around the world. Good luck Bobby!
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