Wandering albatross chicks start to fledge from Macquarie Island

Wandering albatross chicks start to fledge from Macquarie Island

Earlier this month the first of seven wandering albatross chicks fledged from Petrel Peak in the south western corner of the island in the Special Management Area (SMA).  After hatching in early March all seven chicks have been resident on the island throughout winter, patiently waiting for their adults to return periodically to feed them. Conditions are generally pretty hostile throughout the winter with snow, hail and high winds being the norm, and yet these hardy chicks seem to take it in their stride, sitting on their nest staring out to sea.

Wandering albatross breed in small numbers on Macquarie Island, the only breeding location in Australia. They are the largest member of the albatross family and only breed every second year, with 4-13 eggs laid in a season on Macquarie Island.

Remote trail cameras are set up by rangers from the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service each breeding season to overlook the nests and provide valuable information on hatching dates, adult foraging trip duration, and fledging dates, all while minimising disturbance. In addition to the cameras, the breeding locations are visited every 6-8 weeks throughout the year to download camera images, change batteries and ensure the camera is still appropriately positioned.

These fledging birds, once departed, will remain at sea for five to ten years before hopefully returning to the island to breed.

Helen Achurch, Wildlife Ranger