Antarctic albatrosses are one of the world’s most distinguishable seabirds, and if you didn’t already know, they rely on the strong breezes that transpire in this region of the planet to remain in the air for long periods of time during scouting trips.
These albatrosses will nest on remote islands no too far from their natural hunting grounds, and they leave their fluffy chicks in raised nests on the ground of the island where they can be safe from predation and other threats. Or are they?
Even in these remote parts of the world, human behavior is impacting the albatrosses’ ability to survive. Climate change is transforming the weather, resulting in heavier winds that ultimately disturb the albatrosses’ natural nesting grounds. Fluffy albatross chicks are quite easily blown from their nests, and they’re unable to climb back up into the nest.
Researchers have noticed a stark decline in the number of albatrosses in natural hang-out areas over the last several decades, and they’re concerned that climate change could be making conditions so blustery in the Antarctic that chicks are unable to survive to adulthood. Ironically, and heartbreakingly, a bird that relies on the wind is being killed off by the very thing that it uses when it reaches maturity.