Royal Cam Tiaki star leaves nest as bumper albatross breeding season ends
Department of Conservation
Royal Cam star Tiaki, pictured in mid-September, left her nest on the Otago Peninsula on Saturday.
The famous albatross chick from the Otago Peninsula has taken flight, but a satellite tracker will allow fans of his livestream to keep following his journey.
Tiaki was born in Pukekura / Taiaroa Head on January 24 and is one of 30 new chicks ready to leave their nest.
The chicks have grown steadily since hatching in January and February and the first to fly took off on September 6.
Tiaki was the star of Royal Cam this season, with more than 2.3 million people tuned in for around 400,000 hours since December 1.
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His name – which means to care, protect or save – was chosen from more than 700 public submissions.
Those who watched Tiaki grow up on the livestream can continue to follow her journey using a satellite tracker that will show where albatrosses go in their early years.
DOC senior marine science adviser Igor Debski said a 20-gram solar-powered satellite tracker, installed on Tiaki on September 9, would provide valuable information on where these birds were going to feed during their firsts. years.
“It will help us understand where they face the risk of bycatch in the fishery.
“Tiaki’s parents both had trackers installed in February. His father LGK has driven more than 65,000 kilometers since.
Department of Conservation
Take a first look at the new Royal Albatross chick and future Dunedin webcam star. (First published January 2021)
Trackers are glued to feathers on the birds’ backs and are designed to last for about a year. They will fall when the albatross muera.
DOC Ranger Theo Thompson said it was gratifying to see so many chicks leaving the colony after a successful season.
“If all the remaining chicks fly successfully, we will have a record year of 30 chicks. Previously, the greatest number of chicks we had was 28. ”
Tiaki and the other chicks would spend the next four to ten years traveling thousands of miles at sea without even touching land, Thompson said.
The birds would eventually return to Taiaroa Head to breed.
Otago Peninsula Trust ecotourism manager Hoani Langsbury said the void left by fledged chicks would be quickly filled when breeders returned in the coming season and a new Royal Cam chick would be crowned .
“Pukekura is the only accessible place on the planet to observe the majestic comings and goings of the Northern Royal Albatross.”
The royal toroa / northern albatross is one of the largest seabirds in the world, with a wingspan of up to 3 meters. It is a vulnerable species that has been affected by changes in habitat and climate and by certain fishing practices.
They also reproduce slowly, with breeding pairs typically raising a chick once every two years.
The Pukekura / Taiaroa Head colony grew from a breeding pair in 1937 to over 60 pairs last year.