Royal Albatross Cam Timeline

March 31, 2021

Review the main events, including nesting cycle milestones and other noteworthy incidents, in this historical timeline of the Royal Albatross cam.

Jump To Season Timeline:

2020-21
2019-20


Nesting Cycle Dates & Information

NestYearEgg #Lay DateHatch DateFledge DateChick Name
Top Flat2020-211Nov 7Jan 24
Top Flat Track2019-201Nov 14Jan 31Sept 16Atawhai


2020-21 Season Timeline

March 6, 2021: DNA Results Determine 2021 Royal Cam Chick Is A Female

The results are in, and our partners at the New Zealand Department of Conservation have announced that DNA results have determined that the 2020–21 Royal Cam chick is female. DNA analysis is conducted on blood vessel samples taken from the eggs after the chicks have hatched. Only one of the 33 chicks did not receive a result as the egg shell was too damaged to retrieve enough material. This season there are 17 female chicks and 15 male chicks.

January 24, 2021: Royal Albatross Chick Hatches And Gets Returned To Nest

Royal Albatross Chick Hatches And Gets Returned To Nest

On January 21, a pip (a break in the shell) surfaced on the RoyalCam egg. The egg was quickly transported to an incubator for the remainder of the hatching process. Back at the nest site, a dummy egg was placed in the nest during this process to keep the parents incubating on the nest. After spending 4 days working its way out of the shell, the RoyalCam chick fully hatched and has been returned to the care of its waiting parent at the Top Flat nest site on January 24. Watch a ranger from the New Zealand Department of Conservation gently remove the dummy egg from the nest and replace it with the day-old hatchling.

December 4, 2020: Next Royal Cam Season Launches With New Family

Big news! The next Royal Albatross cam season is underway with a return performance from breeding pair LGL (the female, named for her leg bands) and LGK (the male), last seen on cam in 2018-2019. The female laid the pair’s egg on November 7, and it has been identified as fertile by our cam partners at the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC). Read more about this season’s pair.

2019-20 Season Timeline

September 16, 2020: Royal Albatross Chick “Atawhai” Fledges

Atawhai spreads wings for flight.

Atawhai, the star chick of the Northern Royal Albatross cam, took her first flight on the morning of September 16. There were no surprises here—all signs indicated a green light for takeoff. At 230 days post-hatch, Atawhai was a bit younger than the average fledgling (240 days), but she met a standard pre-fledge weight of 17.4 pounds (7.9 kg).

March 5, 2020: DNA Tests Reveal 2020 Royal Albatross Chick Is Female

DNA Tests Reveal 2020 Royal Albatross Chick Is Female

Our partners at the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) announced that DNA testing has revealed that this year’s Royal Albatross chick is a female. After having a bias towards female chicks in the colony over the past two years, this year’s DNA tests confirm that there are more male chicks throughout the colony overall in 2020.

January 31, 2019: Albatross Chick Hatches, Returned To Nest

Albatross Chick Hatches, Returned To Nest

The Royal Albatross chick reunites with its parent (male OGK) after spending the past five days hatching out in an incubator. Watch the chick’s return to the nest as a DOC ranger preps the nest site and gently places the hatchling in the nest bowl. OGK is quick to acknowledge his chick and promptly tucks it in under a warm embrace of feathers.

January 26, 2019: Pipping Egg Transported To Incubator

Pipping Egg Transported To Incubator

Watch a DOC ranger carefully remove the pipping albatross egg from the nest and place a dummy egg in the nest. Royal Albatross eggs are transported to an incubator during the hatching process to remove the risk of fly strike during the long hatching process.

December 20, 2019: Royal Albatross Cam Launches On Bird Cams

Royal Albatross Cam Launches On Bird Cams

Big news from Down Under! The Cornell Lab has teamed up with New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) to bring the new Northern Royal Albatross cam to Bird Cams. This new partnership spans further than the Pacific; it will also increase the viewership of the DOC’s wildly popular cam, known since 2016 as the RoyalCam, and give millions more people the chance to get to know the world’s largest seabird.

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