Friday, August 6, 2021

Black-footed Albatross

The Black-footed Albatross breeds in the Hawaiian Islands during the winter and spring, and then wanders across the North Pacific Ocean to Alaska, California, and China. This species is the only albatross seen regularly off the Pacific Coast of North America—we counted 20 during our 29 July 2021 pelagic trip out of Westport, Washington. Black-footed Albatrosses eat squid and flying-fish eggs, but also often follow shrimp and other trawlers hoping to feed on waste thrown overboard. Albatross are tube-nosed seabirds that are able to smell food in the ocean. During both of my Westport pelagic trips, albatross appeared quickly after the crew tossed out fish scrum. These magnificent birds also ingest floating plastic trash and they are listed as Near Threatened by the IUNC Redlist (Awkerman et al. 2020).

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