Out here at Midway Atoll, the breeding season for albatross is well underway. Compared to the beginning of the season when the colony was a cacophony of screams, whistles, moo’s, and bill claps (as well as a constant flux between courtship displays and intense kerfuffles), the scene is quite calm now. With nests built and eggs laid, the patient parent albatross sit quietly amongst one another as they incubate, sometimes with eyes half closed, often dozing in the afternoon. For the next two months, the stillness will continue, only interrupted by the far-off squeals of non-breeding albatross as they practice their courtship displays.
As the breeding season unfolds on Midway Atoll NWR, hundreds of thousands of Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) flock from the sea to the small sandy atoll to raise their young. Among the returning albatrosses is Wisdom, the world’s oldest known wild bird.
Wieteke Holthuijzen: budding environmental scientist, passionate birder.