The wandering albatross breeding season on Bird Island (South Georgia) has officially begun, with the first egg being laid last week! The bird in question has never bred on Bird Island before, but was ringed as a chick there back in 2008. It looks like she has finally returned home this Christmas to take on the responsibility of parenthood – 10 years later!
The new parent and her chick will need all the luck they can get; wandering albatross are in fast decline, due to a growing number of threats including bycatch in fisheries, plastic pollution, invasive species and climate change. This young family are up against the odds - but there are people working hard all over the world to give them the best chance at survival.
Wandering albatross on Bird Island (Stephanie Winnard)
The Albatross Task Force has achieved great things this year, which will help give the new generation of albatrosses a better chance of surviving out at sea, once they fledge. Having worked closely with the government, the team in Argentina has managed to secure new fishery regulations that require vessels to use bird scaring lines while fishing. A bit further north, the ATF team in Brazil is working with fishermen to test Hookpods in the longline fleet - which has been known to catch wandering albatrosses from Bird Island (for more info click here).
In addition to this, our seabird bycatch mitigation instructors have been educating school children and fisheries observers all over the world about the importance of protecting these magnificent seabirds. But their work is far from done and the team will continue to do all it can in 2019 to help save the chicks that will be hatching in a few months time.
Wanderer seen off the coast of Brazil (Dimas Gianuca)
Although wandering albatross lay their eggs in December, these don’t hatch until March, so our new mother on Bird Island should have a quiet Christmas incubating her new egg. If you would like to follow the journey of the wandering albatross, and the other albatross species on Bird Island, you are in for a treat! Throughout 2019 we will be following four individual birds on Bird Island with webcams, keeping you up-to-date with all the developments and drama. Don’t miss a moment as the birds find their lifelong partners, as chicks hatch, grow and fledge, and all the moments in-between. You can be a part of it all by following #AlbatrossStories on social media. We will be sharing the stories on the Albatross Task Force Facebook page, Twitter @AlbyTaskForce and our new Instagram account @albatross_stories.
Following #AlbatrossStories on social media to keep up with our amazing albatross families throughout 2019 sounds like a great New Year's resolution to me!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all,
Georgia Darby / BirdLife International Marine Team Volunteer
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