Satellite tracking of rare bird begins

(from the Galapagos National Park Service)

The Galapagos National Park Service in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Foundation and scientists David Anderson, Sebastian Cruz and Proaño Carolina, recently fixed satellite tracked geo-locator devices to 19 adults waved albatrosses, with the aim of collecting information related to the distribution and movements of these birds during the non-breeding season.

The albatrosses in general are long distance ocean travelers.   The movements of the Waved Albatross, which breeds almost exclusively in Galapagos, on Española island, are well known while they are in the islands.    The can be seen there from late April to December.   However, it is unclear where the spend the months while they are absent from Galapagos - January to March.   Evidence indicates that they spend time off the coast of Peru, where they are vulnerable to being killed by long line fishermen -  a practice whereby very long fishing lines, sometimes more than 1 mile (1.6 km) are let out behind ships, baited with thousands of hooks.  The Waved Albatross has often been reported as "incidental" catches - killing them most of the time.  Also, fishermen have been known to actually shoot them and eat them.

Studies such as this one will help provide the necessary information to better manage and protect this very rare species.

The work placement geo-locator devices was conducted in Punta Cevallos, on Española island.  In May, work will be initiated to recover monitoring devices and obtain information from them.

waved albatross

To see the Waved Albatross:

The Waved Albatross is a "must see" Galapagos bird for avid birders.  Arriving mostly later in April (though the early birds may arrive as soon as March), they engage in their hallmark courtship displays (sword fighting with their beaks…) and start nesting soon thereafter.   The only way to see one is to be sure your cruise includes Punta Suarez on Española island on its itinerary.