Seabird Rescue, a wildlife group in Western Australia, received a call to retrieve
a large seabird which had washed ashore at Warnbro, which is 50km's south of Perth,
between Rockingham and Mandurah. The reasons for his rescue were due to exhaustion,
most probably as a result of the aftermath of cyclone Darryl.
Marg Larner discovered a very large, exhausted seabird wearing a band from the
University of Capetown, some 6,000 kilometres across the Indian Ocean.
search of the Australian Museum's website and a phone call to the National Banding
Centre in Canberra confirmed the bird as a juvenile Wandering Albatross (Diomedea
The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any bird, measuring almost
3.5 metres and a body length up to 1.35 metres.
The Wandering Albatross has a long hooked bill, large webbed feet, with a weight
range of between 8 - 12kg. These birds can sometimes spend several months in the
air without ever touching land. Their preferred food is squid and fish, however
they are often seen scavenging scraps from fishing boats.
mate for life and breed every two years, usually on subantarctic islands in early
November. The nest is a mound of mud and vegetation on an exposed ridge near the
sea. The single egg hatches after two months and the chick remains in the nest
for around 9 months. Parents will take turns to sit on the nest while the chick
is young and return with food. Later, both adults hunt for food and visit the
chick at irregular intervals.
"It is extremely rewarding and a real privilege to be called to a rescue and discover
a magnificent seabird such as this" Marg said.
"Our visitor is in good health and WA Seabird Rescue volunteers are hand feeding
her twice daily."
Volunteers from the Mandurah Water Rescue Group took Marg out to sea recently
to release the Wandering Albatross (pictured).
Albatross' Care - written by Marg Larner.
receiving a call about a large sea bird needing to be rescued, this majestic bird
was found on the beach sitting quietly amongst seaweed heaps. It was just looking
around, not at all distressed.
getting the bird home I was able to properly investigate him and noticed that
he was dehydrated. Rehydration was given via Spark, an electrolyte fluid often
used for sea birds.
the bird was settled, he was fed pilchards, octopus and squid cut in thin slices.
Sea tabs were added to his meal, which replace the vitamins lost in the freezing
process of fish. It took 2 people to feed him but he didn't struggle, although
he was placed securely in a canvas sling to protect his feathers from our hands
and to reduce oil contamination.
Care was taken to avoid his trachea while feeding, which was huge and easily visible
once bill was opened wide. If you don't open the bill wide it would be very easy
to put the fish down his airway - not good!!
saltwater pool was in his holding area. He
down daily to encourage preening and to maintain water proofing.
the albatross came into care he weighed only 7.5kg. His weight was 8kg on release.
He was in care for a total of 5 days.
Sea Rescue team, in their magnificent new rescue boat, helped me release the albatross
out to sea. After
returning to the water, the albatross floated and preened - really good signs
of a healthy bird. We
left him flapping his wings and lifting off the water, amongst a flock of shearwaters.....
a wonderful experience to be able to care for - and successfully release - such
a magnificent bird.
interesting information on Marg's albatross
albatross had been banded on Marion Island, in the South Indian Ocean, South Africa
Island is part of the Prince Edward Group of Islands, 1800 kms South East of Cape
albatross was banded by the South African Bird Ringing Unit on the 9th of September
had been banded as a nestling;
four months and twenty-three days the bird had flown 6590km's;
rehabilitation the albatross was released approximately 20 nautical miles off
do you think he'll turn up next?
information is from the Department of Environment and Heritage -
Bird and Bat Banding Scheme.