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A Bird in Hand: Aviary Management

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It was dark up by the winch with lots of large pieces of heavy machinary around. Mimi didn't want to scare the baby albatross, so she didn't get too close. (Mimi Szeto)


As we make our across the Pacific we have been followed by birds. Everyone wants to know about whales and dolphins, but they have been elusive, while birds, particularly the albatross and petrel, have been constant, with us almost every step of the way.

Last week we were having the problem of petrels flying into the ship at night. The whole Pacific to fly over, but either attracted or confused by the lights, they would plow into the bridge or the mast and fall to the deck, only to get up and knock themselves into some other structure. Rob has taken it upon himself to be bird-manager. He picks up these frighten and confused creatures – puts them under his jacket or life vest, and once they have calmed down takes them over to a dark side of the ship and releases them. This technique seems to work pretty well for the ones that survive the initial impact.

It is 2:45 in the morning on December 15th. We are sitting on station with the rosette in the water. A few minutes ago, Joe the winch called down to the lab telling us there was a baby albatross on the upper deck. I went up there with the camera, but realized that the best person for the job was Rob. So while I went back down to find him, Mimi attempted to get a picture. Rob is in his lab now with the albatross wrapped up in his shirt – I don’t want to go in, because it is best that we let it calm down so it can be released.

Update (3:00 am)….the baby albatross has been released successfully off the portside.



Last updated: December 26, 2009
 


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