Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Royal Albatross - New Zealand

This was my first time seeing an albatross, and I was fortunate enough to see these great birds which boast a 3 meter wing span.  I knew they were sizable birds, but was unprepared for their amazing bulk.  Huge is the best way to describe them; I would think their body size is equal to or even greater than a bald eagle.  What is truly amazing is that after they leave the nest they spend upwards of 5 years on open ocean; they don't touch land again until they come into their maturity.
I saw only one albatross nesting; it was still a bit early in the season.  We went to the Royal Albatross Center where we got a chance to see these magnificent birds in flight.  It is the only place in the world where Albatross breeds on the mainland.
I commend the managers of the RAC as they have done an amazing job of keeping predators away from the birds.  They have fences set up to keep dogs and cats out, rat traps set out to capture rats, mice, and stoats, and have managed to facilitate a significant breeding colony.  It is a tragedy about how man has devastated bird populations all over the world.  This is one place where we are taking that trend back.  Well done.

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