The 60-year-old Laysan Albatross and her chick (March 8 posting) survived the tsunami wave that hit their island after the Japan earthquake. The bird, oldest known albatross, is nesting in the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. The atoll is 2,200 miles east of Japan.
Observers said that a wave about five feet high swept onto the island following the quake. It destroyed may albatross nests, killing adults and hundreds of chicks. Wisdom, the name given the elderly mom, nested inland, however, and she and her chick were spared.
Many chicks were washed out of their nests onto roads and into bushes Volunteers with hedge clippers and saws worked to free those birds trapped in the underbrush. People also dug out many petrels that were buried and trapped in their nesting burrows.
On Kure Atoll, about 50 miles east of Midway, a colony of Black-footed Albatross was destroyed by the tsunami wave that struck there. The Nature Conservancy has staff there. They reportedly climbed onto the roof of their building to escape the surging water. Staff members said that dead albatross chicks were everywhere. They said that thousands of Ghost Crabs were cleaning up the dead birds.
This information comes from a report written by Suzan Phillips. The entire report can be found at http://www.suite101.com/content/oldest-albatross-survives-tsunami-damage-to-midway-atoll-a358474
For more about albatrosses in general, go to thttp://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/12/albatross/safina-text/1