UPDATED. George and Geraldine, Midway Atoll’s sole Short-tailed Albatross pair, are back for a new season - and have an egg

2023 24 George Geraldine USFWS Jonathon Plissner
George (left) and Geraldine return for a new breeding season, photograph by USFWS/Jonathon Plissner

UPDATE:  The Short-tailed Albatross have an egg for the 2023/24 season and incubation is proceeding, with the male having taken over duties from the female after she laid her egg last month. On 2 November George and Geraldine's first chick (2018/19 season) was sighted back on Sand Midway's island as a four-year old juvenile.  It has been seen ashore previously (along with a younger sibling).  Perhaps there will be more than a single breeding pair on Midway Atoll one day?

2023 George incubating Jon Plissner 29 October"George is notably panting in this image [of him incubating] much like dogs do to stay cool in warmer temperatures and in the heat of the day albatross often put their back to the wind and literally lift their feathers to cool off",  photograph by Jon Plissner, 29 October 2023 

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The Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus pair, known as George and Geraldine, are back on Midway Atoll. The birds were sighted together on Sand Island by a Fish and Wildlife Service volunteer team on 16 October.

“George was banded as a chick on the island of Torishima off the coast of Japan in 2005. He first arrives to Kuaihelani [Midway Atoll] in November 2006. For many years he would return as truly a lonesome George until Geraldine appears in 2016 when they are seen courting and practicing their dance moves. However, it wasn't until 2019 when they reared their first chick on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.”

The sole Short-tailed Albatross pair on the atoll has now raised four chicks to fledging; two of have been seen back on Midway as juveniles. Access previous posts to ACAP Latest News on George and Geraldine here.

Information from the Friends of Midway National Wildlife Refuge Facebook Page.

John Cooper, Emeritus Information Officer, Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, 24 October 2023, updated 05 November 2023

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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