As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Artificial nests to boost breeding of threatened shy albatross

“Bit of mud, bit of dirt, bit of vegetation, the bones of their previously dead chicks which they pack into a little pile…”

Bit of morbid practicality from the shy albatross when it comes to nest-building material!

The birds may use “anything they can get their beak on” but the bird scientists are a little more discriminating in what they use to craft artificial nests for the endemic Tasmanian birds, according to Dr Rachael Alderman, Seabird biologist with the Department of Primary Industries, Park, Water and Environment (DPIPWE).

They’re not using bones, then? “We didn’t go that far. Ideally the birds will augment some of the nests themselves over time, maybe they can choose to add that.”

“One of the things we’ve observed in all our years of monitoring (shy albatross) is that some birds make really good nests and some birds, for whatever reasons, make low-quality nests. If you have a low quality nest, you’re less likely to successfully raise a chick from an egg through to hatching, for a chick that survives at the end of the season. We’re coming in with some nests that we’re making back here that we think the albatross will quite like, and they’re all good quality ones, and we’re going to put them in spots where the albatross aren’t making good nests and we’re going to let them use them and ideally hopefully it will produce more chicks through these nests than would otherwise have been produced on the island.”

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