Wednesday, February 13, 2013
So, I said "stay tuned" regarding Wisdom's chick- the one that survived the tsunami in 2011.
Here's the info! Basically - the survivor survived.
A friend of mine got in touch with the folks who know, and sent me the personal email replies from Bruce Peterjohn; who is the Chief of the US Geological Survey bird banding projects, at Patuxent, MD.
Here's the thing; no one can say for sure if Wisdom's chick is alive; because the albatrosses at Midway are purely wild, of course. And the natural thing for albatross young to do is - leave.
For 3 to 5 years; they stay out at sea; may never touch land, and do not come home. Some scientists think they sleep - while flying. So - who could know? There's no money for radio tracking- and in any case, putting a tracker on a bird of this kind will decrease its chances of survival; it's a drag on the animal.
What is known is: Wisdom's chick fledged successfully; was banded, so it can be identified if seen in the future; and successfully left the nest, to join the other young of the year, as they launch into the world together.
None of that was a given; many chicks do not survive even to fledge; the hazards facing them are numerous; all the time, every day. Lead paint from WW II - plastic trash - frigate birds - there are no guarantees.
In the wild world- it really doesn't get any better than this; Wisdom and her mate kept this chick alive through a tsunami that killed thousands of other albatross chicks; fed and protected it successfully it for months so it grew to maturity; whereupon it - launched. On its own. On to the next step in its life.
It's really all any parent can do.
Peterjohn points out that re-identifying this chick will always be a long shot; there are 200,000 breeding pairs of Laysan albatrosses on Midway; plus an uncertain (but huge) number of unmated birds. Mated pairs are strongly faithful to their nest site; they come back to the same place, year after year - so Wisdom is relatively easy to spot each year (Particularly since they nest right next to one of the buildings...)
And while Wisdom's chick would be expected to return to Midway (most chicks return to their birthplace- though it's not 100%) - there's really no way to know where the chick might nest.
It would definitely be a needle-in-the-haystack kind of search; but; the chick is banded. So...
In the process of digging around for the info; I discovered that Wisdom now has her own Facebook page; and you can become her friend, if you like. Also that Pete Leary, the man on the spot who provides almost all the photos of Wisdom- has a Facebook Page, and a blog, and regularly puts up photos of what's going on there; like the aftermath of the tsunami.
My recommendation to you - by all means "Friend" Wisdom - and any of the other wonderful people involved in all this. We can all use a bit of good news, these days.
And; stick around; folks; I'm working seriously on re-activating my writing here. No, really!
: - )
Posted by Greenpa at 11:05 AM