satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Auntie Moana's Chick -- 5/29/10

left: Aunty Moana, right: Kanoa; middle: their chick
Here they are: pictures of my `ohana!  I'm on the left, my partner Kanoa is on the right, and of course that's our chick in the middle.  We haven't named him yet; we'll wait until he fledges.  ("Fledges" means a bird loses his down and gets regular feathers, and can fly.)
     The reason why we wait on naming our chick is cuz... well, every time we lay an egg, Kanoa and I wait...because sometimes our chick passes away before it fledges...and that's very sad. I'll try and talk more about that in another post..
Aunty Moana

Anyway, here's how it works; the US Fish and Wildlife Service runs our Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. They can't study every single one of us birds on the whole island; so what they do is measure out smaller sections of the island and study all the birds of a particular kind that are in that section. Try look at "Midway Map" tab on the top menu bar of this blog. You'll see the red-numbered areas are for Red-tailed Tropicbirds: 1, 7 and 8.  Albatross areas are in green; Black-footed in B1, B7 and B8, and we Laysan have L7 and L10.
     I live in L10, and I love it here; you can see on the map that it's right in town, not far from the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. I know everything that's going on. Many of my friends say I'm nīele (nosy, a busybody), but I don't think so.  Here's a close-up of me, with band F344 on my right leg.  Can you see the aluminum band on my left leg?  You don't get that until you're just about ready to fledge.
When our L10 neighborhood was first set up, the biologists put bird bands on all us Laysans that were in here. My band is F344; nice, huh? Every year since then, when Kanoa and I set up a nest, the biologists come around and put a stake in the ground near our nest. There were a lot of nests in L10 this year; our nest was #79. Then the scientists know that the egg in that nest, and the chick that hatches out of it, is ours! When he was old enough, they put band P303 on our chick; here's a picture of him taken about a week ago, on May 29; cute, ya?!  Lotsa down; the biologists call it the "DFC, downy feathered chick" stage.

So I'm F344 and our chick is P303. Kanoa and I are working hard to keep him alive and healthy. Here's a picture of me feeding the little guy.  I'll try and post lotsa pictures of him; that way, all you folks following this blog can see my chick grow up!
Aunty Moana feeding her chick, #P303


Mrs P said...

Hey Aunty!

Any idea of where to find the best squid these days? Is Uncle there with you all the time? Or do you take turns with 'da chick?

Mrs P said...

Say Auntie!

Is there any way to get an object in one of the recent pictures for perspective? My students don't believe me when I tell them how big you are even though I have a tracing of a real live albatross handing in the room! Tweenagers!

Auntie Moana said...

Hi Mrs. P! How nice to hear from you! I remember meeting you when you were on island...was it January 2008? So, howzit with you?

Squid: yum! I think the best place for squid is the North Pacific Sub-tropical Convergence Zone (; at least that's my favorite fishing spot.
Kanoa's out there right now; he texted me that he made a good haul, and is coming back tomorrow to feed P303. In fact, I'm heading out right now. At this stage we can leave P303 by himself. In fact we have to! He's growing so fast that both Kanoa and I are kept busy getting enough food to keep him healthy; we don't spend much time on Midway!

Auntie Moana said...

Mrs. P -- Maika`i! For sure I'll post a picture of my P303 with something that will show his size...

...and you should see how big his wings have grown! Yesterday and today many albatross chicks, including P303, have opened their wings to the full extent (6 to 7 feet!!) because the Tradewinds are strong. Our chicks are feeling the wind, getting ready to fly away from Midway in about a month!

In the meantime, take a look at the picture of Barb, in the left-hand column of this blog. Her picture shows her sitting on the ground with a few adult Laysan Albatross. That sorta gives an idea of our size.