Bells welcome albatross

Dunedin church bells will ring today to mark the return of the first northern royal albatross to Taiaroa Head for the 2009-10 breeding season.

The bells, including one closest to the colony at Otakou Marae, will ring at 3pm.

Dunedin events spokeswoman Marilyn Anderson said the ringing of the bells acknowledged and celebrated the significance of the colony to the city.

Department of Conservation Taiaroa Head head ranger, Lyndon Perriman, said the albatross was known by its combination of coloured leg rings, black, white and green.

The albatross was 8, and as yet had not bred.

However, it was keeping company with another bird last year, and they would probably breed this year, he said.

"Already, it's sitting in the same place that the pair based themselves last year, waiting for its mate to return."

About 20 to 25 nests were expected this year, as the albatrosses bred in a two-year cycle.

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