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Royal Albatross Chicks Begin Fledging In New Zealand

Watch Royal Albatross chicks practice hovering on a windy day in New Zealand.

At long last, the time has come for the Royal Albatross chicks at Taiaroa Head Nature Reserve to fledge and begin their multiyear journey at sea. Star chick Tiaki has been busy practicing for take-off for the past couple of weeks, while several chicks (including Tiaki’s next-door neighbor) have already left the headland on New Zealand’s Otago Peninsula. Tune in live for a chance to see a young albatross take its first flight. Watch now.

From Land To Sea: Raising a Northern Royal Albatross chick takes a lot of work. By the time Tiaki takes flight, her parents LGL (female) and LGK (male) will have put a full year into raising their single chick. Successful breeders take a much-deserved year off to recoup at sea before returning to do it all over again, while new breeders are already arriving at the colony to prep for the upcoming breeding season.

Follow Tiaki’s Voyage: Assuming all goes well, Tiaki will start a long trip to South American waters before returning home at about age four. But her Royal Cam story doesn’t end here. We can follow her adventures thanks to a GPS tracker fitted to Tiaki’s back by rangers from the New Zealand Department of Conservation. The solar-powered device will transmit valuable information about Tiaki’s location after she fledges. It is very lightweight and will eventually fall off within a year once the bird molts her feathers.

Why are these GPS tags important? They are a crucial tool that can shape the conservation management of this endangered species! Changes in climate, prey location, and fishing activity are likely to affect Northern Royal Albatross, and obtaining data on their movements at sea is required to affect decision making in these areas.

Thanks to Tiaki’s new GPS tracker, we’ll be able to follow her on her journey after fledging. Stay up to date on Tiaki’s whereabouts at sea via the same map that tracks LGK’s location. Check out the map.

We’d like to thank our partners at the New Zealand Department of Conservation for helping us share the lives of these magnificent ocean wanderers with the world! Be sure to follow updates from the cam on Twitter @RoyAlbatrossCam

Albatross with tag.
Tiaki’s GPS tracker. Tap to see her location.

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Pileated Woodpecker by Lin McGrew / Macaulay Library