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A heartfelt congratulations goes out to our own Ann Humphrey. She was recently recognized by the National Refuge Association as Volunteer of the Year. She has received the Award in recognition of her unwavering support for Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Papahanaumokuakea. Because of its remote location, volunteering at Midway requires a move to the island for the entire volunteer service tour. Since 2007, Ms.Humphrey has completed four service tours of various lengths. Under her direction, the refuge created a Refuge Biological Program volunteer corps to recruit and train stewards for Midway who grow to be technically savvy and make significant contributions to the refuge’s mission.

  • A Dose of Inspiration and Love Comes Back to Midway!

    Wisdom Nestling with Mate 11.21.2015 Kiah Walker

    The world's oldest known bird in the wild, named Wisdom, returned November 19, 2015 to Pihemanu (Hawaiian place name given to Midway meaning "loud din of birds").  She was sighted with her mate on November 21 and on Saturday, November 28 was observed incubating her egg. Both parents are currently taking incubation shifts. The egg is expected to hatch the first week of February. To follow Wisdom on social media and for more information: visit: Wisdom Updates and Social Media Links; Wisdom's Story; November 2015 ImageryPhoto and Video Chronology

    Photo by: Kiah Walker/USFWS

  • The Gang Is All Here!

    The Gangs All Here!

    Arriving fall 2015 to accomplish invasive species control including propagation and out-planting of native plants, marine debris removal, monk seal surveys and monitoring albatross survey plots; this rotation of 6-month volunteers will be on Midway through winter 2016. Photo by Bret Wolfe/USFWS  Left to Right: Current Midway Atoll NWR FWS Volunteers (from left, Kiah Walker, Naira de Gracia, Aisha Rickli-Rahman, Kristina McComber, and Keeley Hassett) complete the loading of Sustainable Coastaline Hawai’i’s marine debris shipping container. Photo credit: Bret Wolfe/USFWS

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  • Henderson Airfield Saves Lives!

    United Flight 201

    The most recent stats are in!  The refuge and contracted staff on Midway have participated in 58 medevac events using aircraft from 1997 to the present.   All but seven involved finely synchronized coordination with the US Coast Guard.   The peak year was eleven recorded in 2006.   These statistics show critical importance of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s partnership with FAA in keeping Henderson Field operational. While compiling the stats, Refuge manager Dan Clark noted he was exceptionally proud of the results of a small Midway staff that is often faced with high risk and intense crisis operations while managing this extraordinary National Wildlife Refuge and National Memorial on behalf of people and wildlife.

  • Ahhhh Shade and Fresh Water! Thank YOU FOMA!

    245x184 Duck Guzzler Clean OUT Nov. 2015

    Laysan ducks now have a few more places to soak-up shade and fresh water thanks to the refuges' non-profit association, Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (FOMA).  In addition to the four existing guzzlers (two that just underwent a thorough cleansing of an inch of yucky sludge) three additional water guzzler structures purchased by FOMA were installed on Sand Island in October 2015.  Photo by Megan Dalton/USFWS

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  • Short-tailed albatross in sub-adult plummage

    Short-tailed Sub Adult 2014

    Two short-tailed albatross commonly referred to as "the golden gooney," have been observed this past fall strutting their striking (although sub-adult) plumage on Sand Island.  No short-tailed albatrosses have been observed as of December 7, 2015 on Eastern Island.  Short-tailed albatross that have reached breeding age usually are sighted on Midway weeks earlier than the arrival of Laysan albatross.  The short-tailed albatross, listed as endangered since 1970, is the largest seabird in the North Pacific with a wing span of seven to 7.5 feet. It is known for the golden, yellow cast on its head and nape; for its large, pink bill with blue tip and black border around the base; and for its pale bluish feet and legs. Its life span is 12 to 45 years. Pairs begin breeding at about seven or eight years of age, and mate for life. Photo by: Dan Clark/USFWS

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  • Made in the Shade

    Shade House November 2015

    The number of native plants ready for out-planting will soon multiply exponentially under the shade and protection of Midway's brand new 65' x 95' shade house. Ordered from Australia and purchased by the Friends of Midway Atoll, the new structure will be used to propagate native plants for continued restoration of healthy habitat for people and wildlife!  The next step will be to incur and outfit the shade house with plumbing and tables for plant production to begin.

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  • Field Highlights August 2015

    Abbie Anderson Feeding Tern 194x175

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife volunteers do most of the habitat and historic monument restoration work on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge/Battle of Midway National Memorial. Discover how Abbie Anderson and a Manu-o-kῡ assure their work is done! Click here to learn more! Photo by: M. Duhr-Schultz/USFWSF

  • Birth Announcement!

    First Born Known Seal Pup for 2015

    Although not a newborn, the first known Hawaiian monk seal pup born in 2015 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands was sighted on Sunday, January 25 by Refuge Biologist Meg Duhr-Schulz on Eastern Island.  For more information on the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program and recent Hawaiian monk seal activity throughout the Hawaiian Archipelago visit: https://www.facebook.com/HMSRP.

  • The Count Is In!

    Volunteer Bird Counters D.Clark 2015

    The 2015 albatross nest count is at an all-time record-breaking high since Fish and Wildlife Service volunteers began systematically counting every nesting pair of albatross on Midway Atoll.  Assuming there is a pair of albatrosses for every nest counted by volunteers December 11, 2014-January 2, 2015, the final nest count for hatch year 2015 translates to over 1.39 million individual Laysan and black-footed albatrosses.

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  • The Story of Wisdom Continues

    Wisdom on egg

    So what’s up with the missing egg?  Of the over 694,000 albatross nests counted on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge during December 2014 a percentage of those nests with eggs have not hatched and some eggs have disappeared.  The island’s natural egg predators such the ruddy turnstones or bristle-thighed curlews can actually take eggs that are not closely attended.  Cockroaches and other scavengers such as mice can quickly move in to clean house and devour shell remnants of damaged eggs.   When this happens the albatross pair abandons their nest and tries again next year.  Laysan albatross also occasionally skip a year or even two as they use their precious energy resources to complete a full molt while at sea or simply take a breather to replenish their energy after accomplishing an exhaustive seven-month incubation and chick rearing effort.  Wisdom and her mate have been sighted and they appear to be fine. We are hopeful Wisdom will return next year to start nature’s cycle of rearing chick number 30 something! For more information and photos visit: http://usfwspacific.tumblr.com/post/105446110115/wisdom-the-worlds-oldest-laysan-albatross https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/sets/72157632891366006/

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  • Male Short-tailed Albatross Found Dead


    Unfortunately, on Saturday, December 13, 2014 a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer discovered a male short-tailed albatross deceased on Eastern Island.  He was first sighted and apparently healthy on October 24, 2014 and remained in the general area near the decoy plot. 

    The cause of death is still unknown.  However, analysis of the reproductive organs indicated that this individual was not a sexually mature male and therefore not the male breeder that sired three chicks previously on Eastern Island.

    Nicknamed the Golden Goonie, this seabird species once soared the Pacific Ocean by the millions before the turn-of-the-century. We hope the analysis to determine the cause of death will unveil information that will help this species survive. 

    Diagnostic Case Report: National Wildlife Health Center-Honolulu 

    Chronology of Photos and Video

    News Story

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  • Verbesina Clean-up

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    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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  • A Remarkable Early Holiday Gift

    Wisdom and Her Mate First Sighting 11.22.214

    Wisdom (left), the world's oldest (at 63 years old or possibly older) known banded bird in the wild was observed preening and incubating her recently laid egg on December 3, 2014.  Hatch date should be around February 6, 2015.  Wisdom has a highly visible band labeled Z333 which allows Fish and Wildlife Service staff to recognize her from a distance.  Her mate has the band number G000. 

     Midway Atoll is currently crowded with hundreds of thousands of albatross sitting on their nests. The male and female are both busy either feeding themselves at sea or trading places with their mate to share in the incubation duties.  We will keep an eye on Wisdom, and her nest and post updates as the egg's due date nears.  Photo by B. Wolfe/USFWS

    Check out our photo and video gallery of Wisdom this nesting season along with the chick this pair reared last season at https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/with/15853842138/  or by checking out the Multimedia tab on this website.

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  • Aircraft Makes Emergency Landing

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    The 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

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    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.