The Return of Midway Atoll’s Albatross

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, a law that has been a powerful catalyst for conservation of America’s most treasured fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. In the Pacific Region, our Tribes, state and federal agencies, and partners have joined with our dedicated staff to be the driving force behind the successes we share and the strength ensuring we can address the challenges ahead. Celebrate this milestone with us in this collection of stories as we reflect on past successes, assess current challenges, and envision an equally bright future for the next 50 years and beyond.  

The first of the albatrosses started to arrive this past week on both Sand and Eastern Island. A pair of Black-footed albatross was first seen flying over Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) this weekend, and since then their numbers on the ground have been slowly increasing. Several individuals of Laysan albatross and one Short-tailed albatross were spotted.

The bi-monthly Laysan duck survey was conducted on both Sand and Eastern Island this week, resulted in a count of over 200 ducks on Midway Atoll NWR. During the survey, multiple vagrant Ring Necked ducks were also observed, along with many Northern Pintails, which have been seen regularly over the past few weeks.

The Volunteer Field Crew completed a sizeable outplanting at the Cable House site. A total of 301 plants including kāwelu (Eragrostis variabilis), kūnānā pepperwort (Lepidium bidentatum), mau’u ‘aki’aki (Fimbristylis cymosa), and ‘āweoweo (Chenopodium oahuense) were successfully planted. To further combat weed infiltration and expansion, these native plant species were outplanted in high density areas. Kūnānā pepperwort and alena seeds were also collected from Ash Island and Plateau restoration sites in order to keep the Midway Atoll NWR Seed Library stocked and ready for more propagation endeavors.

The week ended with marine debris sorting. New methods of organization are being tested in hopes of developing more efficient packing and recycling techniques.

In honor of President Roosevelt’s birthday, various island residents picked their favorite “Teddy” quotes. “Do what you can where you are with what you have”.   Happy birthday Teddy!

Article by Laura Brazier, a Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge volunteer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region. 


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit, or connect with us through any of these social media channels at, or

Story Tags

Endangered and/or Threatened species