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BirdNote: Laysan Albatrosses Nest At Midway Atoll

Dave Kutilek

Midway Atoll is the winter home of nearly a million nesting albatrosses. Laysan Albatrosses return to Midway in November to breed. Roughly 450,000 pairs wedge their way into a scant 2½ square miles of land surface.

And why do Laysans nest in winter? Well, the big birds forage mostly at night, so the longer hours of darkness in winter provide more time to find food for their rapidly growing chicks.

And just how big do the chicks get? By mid-May, they may weigh seven pounds, half a pound heavier than an average adult. The young birds will need that extra fat - and energy - as they learn to fly.