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Black-footed albatross pair2014

The albatross are returning and finding love in all the right places, a protected wildlife refuge in the middle of the Pacific! 

  • Wisdom Lives On!

    Wisdom and Her Mate First Sighting 11.22.214

    On Saturday morning, Wisdom (left), the world's oldest (at least 63 years old) known albatross was observed with her mate for the first time this breeding season within feet of their usual nesting site.  Wisdom has a highly visible band labeled Z333 which allows us to recognize her from a distance.  Her mate, who was first sighted last Wednesday, has the band number G000. It is typical for Laysan albatross males to arrive first and stake claim to the nest site. Wisdom was gone by Sunday morning which is also not unexpected.

    The breeding albatrosses, both male and female, typically return to sea shortly after mating.  After about 5-10 days, the female will return and lay a single egg in a bowl-like nest made from sand and grass.  The males will return shortly thereafter, though some may remain to guard the nest site while the female is away.  Midway Atoll is crowded with hundreds of thousands of albatross pairs that are currently staking out their nest sites.   Although it's not set in stone that they will successfully breed and raise a chick in any given year, this pair has successfully bred in each of the last seven years.  We'll keep an eye on them and post updates of their progress.  We use telephoto lenses from about 30 feet away to avoid disturbing them too much.  Write-up and photo by: Bret Wolfe/USFWS

    Check out the photo gallery of the chick this pair reared last season!

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  • Short-tailed Albatross Chick Hatches

    Short-tail and chick thumbnail

    The male from last year's short-tailed albatross pair returned to its former nest sight end of October 2014 on Eastern Island. He appears to continue to be anxiously waiting for his partner to appear on the horizon. Check out the video below of last year's preening and chick rearing. 

    Read the story and watch the video

    Remote video camera captures chick sighted for the first time just after hatching.

     Short-tailed albatross feeding chick video

  • Verbesina Clean-up

    View the before and after photos of Eastern Island where verbesina is successfully being controlled while opening up nest sites and allowing one to see the "historic" Eastern Island runways and bunkers.

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  • Wildlife Observations

    Pintail and Laysan duck

    Numerous species of vagrant waterfowl and shore birds have been spotted on the refuge in recent weeks including at least 6 Northern pintails, green-winged teal, dunlin, lesser scaup, long-billed dowitcher, and a Canada goose.

  • Aircraft Makes Emergency Landing

    serving passengers in gym thumbnailThe residents on Midway worked into the night and early morning hours to assure crew and passengers were cared for and served a hot meal.   


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  • Whiskered Tern Sighted

    Whiskered tern thumbnail

    First confirmed sighting of a whiskered tern in the Hawaiian archipelago. It was discovered enjoying a brackish pond surrounded by endangered Laysan ducks. The whiskered tern breeds in a number of areas in southern Europe, India, south-west and south-east Asia, south-east Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Populations that breed in cooler northern locations migrate south for winter, to tropical Africa, India or Indonesia, a journey that can cover up to 5,000 miles. The whiskered tern lives mainly in inland marshes, pools and lakes, where there is substantial vegetation. It feeds on terrestrial and aquatic insects, mosquitoes, spiders, frogs, tadpoles, small crabs, shrimps and small fish.


Last Updated: Dec 17, 2014
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