Laysan Albatross Chicks
Midway Atoll
As previously noted, the Laysan Albatross chicks were about six weeks old. Mostly, they just sat in the nest where they were
born waiting five or six days at a time to be fed. If we came close to them, such as when we drove our golf cart close to them,
they might stand up, but they did not move unless prodded except to find shade from the mid-day sun.
The wings on the chicks were very short and out of proportion to the adults. In two or three more weeks, the wings will soon
grow out rapidly.
Of the tens of thousands of chicks we saw, there were three leucystic chicks. Sadly, these chicks will go blind and not live a full
life.
As previously noted, the chicks would seek out whatever shade they could find from the mid day sun. Here a chick sits in what
little shade he can get from a plant.
On our last day, after lunch, I had to remove four chicks from under our golf cart.
The chicks seem to enjoy having their heads scratched.
One disconcerting behaviour of the Laysan Albatross parents is their tendency to beat up on neighboring chicks when they
are feeding their own chick. In the midst of feeding, a parent will abruptly assault chicks nearby. Speculation is that this is so
these chicks will not try to take the food they have brought for their own chicks.
One major threat to the baby albatross is the plastic that their parents feed on at sea. The area north of the Hawaiian Islands
is a big garbage dump for humans with lots of small plastic. The parents feed this plastic to their chicks who can not throw it up
and many of them die because their bellies are filled with plastic.