Why are these wild albatross chicks sitting in flower pots?

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The Chatham albatross, also called Chatham Islands mollymawk, breeds in only one location in the entire world, an island called The Pyramid in the Chatham Islands of New Zealand. Albatross are famous for coming back to the place they were born to raise their families, and indeed, some albatross individuals may return to the same nest cup where they were born to start looking for a spot to build a nest. The Chatham albatross species is considered vulnerable to extinction because if one catastrophic event happens at their nesting island, the species could be severely impacted for a long time, perhaps even wiped out. After all, everyone knows you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket or one island.

Because albatross return to the place they were born to raise their own chicks, and because the species needs to nest on more than one island to protect the future of the species, the Chatham Island Taiko Trust has launched a five-year plan. Each year, the group is taking 50 albatross chicks from the pyramid and translocating them to an area to the southwest.

The flower pots serve as make-shift nest cups. The albatross adults build pillars out of mud as their nests, and the chicks happily sit atop the perch while they grow up. The trust wasn’t able to duplicate the mud pillars, but flower pots buried partly into the ground and filled with peat make a great substitute.

source: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/why-are-these-wild-albatross-chicks-all-sitting-flower-pots

photo: David Boyle/Chatham Island Taiko Trust

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