Posts tagged with albatross

Albatrosses and petrels of the Auckland Islands

  • A light-mantled sooty albatross chick at a site vulnerable to pigs and cats on the main Auckland Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • White-capped mollymawks on Disappointment Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa
  • The Auckland Islands, showing sites included in the Te Papa seabird survey. Image derived from eBird records submitted by the team
  • An Antarctic prion on Ewing Island. Photo by Colin Miskelly. Te Papa

The remote Auckland Islands 370 km south of Stewart Island are tiny specks of land in the middle of a vast ocean. This makes them important breeding grounds for many species of seabirds and seals that forage in surrounding seas. Bird experts Colin Miskelly and Alan Tennyson visited the islands in late January, and here… Read more »

The ‘eww’ factor: Gruesome finds in seabird feeding study

Photograph by Susan Waugh

Elements of biology entail a certain ‘eww’ factor – and studying the diet of seabirds certainly fits that description. In research into the foraging habits of Buller’s albatross, a threatened endemic species from southern New Zealand, published in the journal Plos one in 2017, scientist Dr Susan Waugh and colleagues discovered more than they bargained for, when examining… Read more »

The global hunt for the original wandering albatross

"Chocolate albatross" in Vienna

Vertebrate Curator Alan Tennyson explores the history of the name of the wandering albatross and the hunt for the original specimens. The wandering albatross is one of the world’s greatest ocean wanderers, with individuals circumnavigating the Southern Ocean and travelling 120,000 km in a year. These albatrosses have been among the most high-profile of seabirds ever since… Read more »

Travels with Betsy – exploring the world of albatross personality

  • A discussion in the field hut around the days activities. Betsy was a keen contributor to how we developed our testing regime. Left to right: Research assistants Tim Poepart, Julien Collet and CNRS researcher Dr Samantha Patrick. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Samantha Patrick, CNRS research repairs Betsy after a particularly intense interaction with a 'bold' albatross. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • A birds with a more 'bold' response to meeting Betsy, clacks its bill and grumbles as Betsy is pulled away. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Research assistant Julien Collet presents Betsy to an unsuspecting albatross on the nest. Photo: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.

Do albatrosses have personalities? And if so, how do scientists measure such intangible characteristics? This blog provides some of the background to research Te Papa scientists were involved in, examining how birds use their environment, and how individual personality traits of these birds can be measured. The previous blogs on this topic can be accessed here…. Read more »

The Albatross in the Cupboard

Nina Powles is a graduate student of English Literature at Victoria University. She wrote this blog post for a course in Creative Science Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters. She currently lives in Wellington. Photographer: Wen Powles © Wen Powles

Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters is justifiably famous.  One of its innovative creative writing courses goes by the intriguing acronym of  ‘CREW352’.  CREW352 is creative science writing. Recently, CREW352 student Nina Powles interviewed Dr Susan Waugh, Senior Curator of Sciences at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Here is Nina’s… Read more »

Khandallah kids go ‘behind the scenes’

Phil2

Readers may remember that as part of sunfish science extravaganza, a group of Khandallah School students won our competition to name the fish. Their winning name was Sunny Bill, and this morning they visited our natural history collection as part of their prize. The 28 students from room 5 arrived at the Tory St building… Read more »

Solander: Kingdom of the Birds

  • Close up Buller's albatross, or mollymawk. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Albatross at home on rough seas. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Attaching logger to bird. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • econd campsite in the colony. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Steeped in history, Solander Island stands as a reminder of how beautiful it once was in this land which once was the kingdom of the birds. Monday 6 May Our party of 3 comprising Dr Dominique Filippi, Director Sextant Technology Ltd, Jean Claude Stahl (photographer scientist) and myself (Michael Hall) spend time readying for the… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 4. Le Champ des Albatros

Sam Patrick and Julien Collet discuss results from personality tests, assisted by Betsy, the blue test cow. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa.

Here at the haut lieu of albatross biology – Le Champ des Albatros, Crozet Islands the main study site for Wandering Albatrosses in the French Southern Territories, we have now done a round of all the behaviour testing, GPS deployments and nest checks that await us over the next month. We arrived a week ago,… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 1. Departing La Reunion for the Crozet Islands

  • Scientists Boarding Marion du Fresne. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa.
  • Samantha Patrick CNRS Researcher on board RV Marion du Fresne. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa.
  • Marion du Fresne and local boy at port in St Denis La Reunion. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa.
  • Departure Board of the Marion Du Fresne. Image: Susan Waugh, (C) Te Papa

A two-month long research programme is getting underway for Te Papa Senior Curator Dr Susan Waugh, in collaboration with the French CNRS Research Institute and Polar Institute (IPEV). Susan departs from La Reunion on February 7th to take part in a programme of work on the personality of Albatrosses on the Crozet Islands. Departure Board… Read more »