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.

Friday 10 August 2018

Satellite tags employed to solve albatross's mysterious decline


British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has satellite tagged 16 juvenile Grey-headed Albatrosses in order to understand what is driving the species' rapid decline.

Grey-headed Albatross is now classified as Endangered due to a catastrophic population drop on South Georgia, its largest breeding stronghold. Since 1977, numbers have more than halved, and over the last decade the decline has accelerated to a worrying 5 per cent a year – far faster than any other albatross species. Colonies that once teemed with nests and chicks are now sparse, with large, bare areas of tussocky grass dominating slopes that were once predominately teeming with birds.

The reason for such a startling decline was unknown. By recording sightings of ringed birds, researchers worked out that juvenile survival rates were far lower than normal. When they fledge, juveniles rove the Southern Ocean in search of food for up to seven years, before returning to breed on South Georgia. Exactly where they are going has remained unknown, although scientists do know that it involves different areas to the adults.


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