San Pedro, CA
Beach Harbor longshoreman Lawrence Posod boarded the Saga
a cargo ship that arrived from Korea, what greeted him was
not the typical seagull. “From my world travels I knew
it was an albatross, although I didn’t know what species.” He
knew the right thing to do.
(Photo: Susan Kaveggia)
Posod threw his shirt over the bird to calm it
and then got it into a box. Next, a call to the experts at
International Bird Rescue Research Center for further instructions.
at the center in San Pedro,
where Posod lives, told him to bring it in. So he shared
his ride home with the wayward
Staff identified the bird as a Laysan Albatross, which make
their home base about 3,000 miles away, in the Hawaiian Islands.
With a wingspan of over seven feet,
they are skilled fliers known to travel thousands of miles in search of food.
Recently, scientists tracked a mother albatross who flew 38,706 miles in four
months to feed her chick. Occasionally albatross hitch a ride on barges and cargo
ships, which they may mistake for islands.
The bird was examined and found to be healthy. From past experience, Director
Jay Holcomb feels it’s best to release wayward albatross out of sight of
land and with the long water runway they need to get airborne again. After a
few days of R&R in the center’s spacious pool, and some free fish,
the bird will be released out at sea.
The population of approximately 600,000 breeding pairs spends their lives at
sea, only coming on land to lay a single egg, every year or every other year.
They don't begin breeding until eight years of age and then courtship lasts two
years. Mates meet up to lay a single soda-can size egg, which they take turns
incubating, sitting for as long as three weeks while the other feeds at sea.
Albatross can live up to fifty years.
For more information about albatross and their travels, read
Carl Safina’s in-depth article, “Albatross
Wanderings,” which can be found
on Audubon Magazine's online site.
Return to list of
Karen Benzel, International Bird Rescue Research
Office: (831) 622-7588