Albatrosses swept inland as wild wind buffets region

A juvenile Buller’s mollymawk prepares to depart Taiaroa Head yesterday morning, hours after...
A juvenile Buller’s mollymawk prepares to depart Taiaroa Head yesterday morning, hours after being blown inland and found in a commercial property near Dunedin Airport. PHOTO: DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
Albatrosses have been crash-landing in some unusual spots this week after being blown inland by strong winds.

Royal Albatross Centre assistant manager Ashleigh Compton said the centre had been fielding calls from people wanting to know what to do "with their albatross that they have in their garages or at their front doors".

"We've had three or four calls from people who have found various types of albatross.

"We've directed them to Doc (Department of Conservation) so they can get proper advice from there, but obviously the strong winds are causing a bit of havoc.

"They're just making the most of our coastline and our feeding, and those strong winds lately have just pushed them right inland."

The albatrosses being recovered were believed to include Buller's mollymawks. One was recovered from near Dunedin Airport yesterday morning.

Doc biodiversity supervisor Amanda Salt, of Dunedin, said the juvenile Buller's mollymawk was found by a member of the public at a commercial property at Allanton, near Dunedin Airport.

A Doc ranger was dispatched and managed to cage the bird, she said.

The bird was in good health and taken to Taiaroa Head, where it was released and flew off out to sea within 15 minutes.

"It's an unusual event. It doesn't happen a lot," she said.

Anyone finding an albatross or mollymawk on their property should secure cats or dogs, to ensure the birds were not disturbed, and then call Doc for help, she advised.

Despite the wild weather, Ms Compton said there were no reports yet of any albatrosses from the centre turning up in places they should not be, "but if anyone finds one, let us know".

"Hopefully, they're all OK out there."

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