U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Midway Atoll
National Wildlife Refuge

About 1,200 miles northwest of
Honolulu, HI   
E-mail: Matt_D_Brown@fws.gov
Phone Number: 808-674-8237
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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  Wildlife Observation and Photography
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From November through July, Midway is alive with albatross, boasting the largest colony of Laysan albatross in the world and the second largest colony of black-footed albatross. A few individual short-tailed albatross--also known as "golden goonies" for their beautiful golden heads--may be sighted by fortunate visitors.

At other times of the year, red-tailed tropicbirds may perform their aerial acrobatics, curious white terns will flutter above, black and brown noddies may nod their greetings, and wedgetailed shearwaters and Bonin petrels may serenade visitors to sleep.

On Eastern Island, red-footed and masked boobies, great frigatebirds, graybacked and sooty terns, and Christmas and wedgetailed shearwaters make their nests amidst the historic runways, joining hundreds of thousands of albatross, brown noddies, tropicbirds, and white tern.

Midway's subtropical climate is hospitable not only to its native birds but also to two introduced species. In 1910, a family brought to Midway by the Commercial Pacific Cable Company released their 12 pet canaries on the island. The species subsequently became established in the wild, and the approximately 500 birds that remain today are a visible reminder of the varied history of the atoll. A native of India, mynas apparently were introduced on Midway around 1971. As the population (now estimated at about 800 birds) increases, concern is growing that the species spreads alien plant seeds and threatens white terns, sooty terns, and black noddies by eating their eggs.

The waters of Midway Atoll also abound with life, including about 250 Hawaiian spinner dolphin cavorting and resting in the shallow turquoise lagoon during the day, green sea turtles--a threatened species--feeding in the lagoon or resting on its white sand beaches, and about 60 endangered Hawaiian monk seals, frequently seen basking on Midway beaches. More than 250 species of fish swim within the lagoon, including abundant and colorful coral fish. Beyond the reef, pelagic fish such as tuna and marlin swim through deep blue waters.

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