Chick fledge shows colony thrives

Webcam star albatross Tumanako who fledged last month. Photo: Supplied
Webcam star albatross Tumanako who fledged last month. Photo: Supplied
The chick of celebrity albatross Toroa is the last young bird to spread its wings this season, leaving what has become a thriving colony at Taiaroa Head.

At the weekend, the unnamed chick of the 500th royal albatross born at the colony fledged as the last of 23 this season.

Late last month webcam star Tumanako also began his journey into South American waters. The Department of Conservation webcam has had more than 2million views since it was launched in January last year.

Those birds will now spend the next 4 to 10 years at sea before hopefully returning to the colony to breed.

A record 17 birds first returned this season, which is when an albatross comes back to the colony for the first time since fledging.

Otago Peninsula Trust marketing manager Sophie Barker said the number of returned birds showed the continued growth of the colony.

''It's very healthy, in a large part thanks to the great work of Doc staff.''

Fifty-four adults had returned, which would increase throughout the season.

''We're hoping Moana's parents will be back this season to breed.''

Moana fledged last year after becoming the first chick watched via the webcam.

The returning birds would be pair bonding, courting, mating and preparing to bring up this season's chicks.

The colony was expecting good numbers of breeding pairs, which would begin laying next month.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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