Royal announcement: Year's first albatross chicks hatch

A newly hatched "Royal Albatross" chick with its parent at Taiaroa Head. Photo: Supplied
A newly hatched Royal Albatross chick with its parent at Taiaroa Head. Photo: Supplied
Dunedin has its first royal baby of the year, with the hatching of the first Royal Albatross chicks at the Taiaroa Head colony.

This year a record 51 eggs were laid at Taiaroa Head -- the only mainland royal albatross breeding colony in the world.

Department of Conservation ranger Jim Watts said not all the eggs were viable, but he hoped the birds which hatched today would be the first of many.

Rangers monitor the bird's nests regularly, and this morning they saw three chicks being tended to by a parent.

As per the tradition in Dunedin, a “Happy Birthday” flag flies from the Dunedin City Council’s mayoral flagpole to celebrate the beginning of an exciting time for the city.

The birds have found a world-wide audience in recent years thanks to "Royalcam'' -- a web camera trained on a likely looking nest.

The birds on Royalcam this year, LGL and LGK, were expected to welcome their chick around January 24, Otago Peninsula Trust Ecotourism Manager, Hoani Langsbury said.

"Royalcam has made a huge difference to people’s engagement with albatross and the support we are able to give the Department of Conservation.” 


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