Jeremy Madeiros | As we prepare to celebrate Easter, I continue to be very encouraged and hopeful for the continuing recovery of one of the world's rarest seabirds.
As for the whole breeding population, the number of breeding pairs rose slightly to a record number of 117 pairs, up from 115 in 2016 (for those producing an egg, whether it hatched or not). The number of chicks at the present time (April 15th) is at least 62, although it is likely that we will loose at least a couple of those before they are ready to fledge to sea in late May/early June. Still, we have a good chance of breaking the present record of 59 fledged chicks in 2014 ( the number of successfully fledged chicks for last year's season (2016) was 56).
Perhaps the most encouraging statistic so far from this year's breeding season is that at least 9 to 10 new nests are being prospected by newly matured, young Cahows returning to the nesting grounds for the first time since fledging, with establishing pairs confirmed in most of them. Since most of these birds were fitted with identification bands while still in the nest, we know that they fledged to sea as chicks 3 to 5 years ago, and have since lived on the open ocean out of sight of land until their return this year. These potential new nesting pairs should hopefully produce their first eggs in the next breeding season in 2018 and come "on-line" as breeding pairs. As we prepare to celebrate Easter, I continue to be very encouraged and hopeful for the continuing recovery of one of the world's rarest seabirds.
The weight of the CahowCam R831 chick on Thursday was 302 grams, while the wing chord was 67mm (he was also fed again that night by the female bird, so obviously has gained weight again following that feeding).