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Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa on Otago Peninsula


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After putting our tents up at Portobello, Jerry & Nina went to the only mainland Royal Albatross colony, at Taiaroa near Dunedin. The Royal Albatross has a 3-foot wing span. An enemy of theirs now is the stoat, a weasel introduced from Europe. The first public center for watching them was opened in 1972 and in 1994 there were 90 to 100 birds in the colony. We paid $22 New Zealand to visit the center. It was neat to watch the birds flying just over our heads. They arrive here in September and build nests in November. Parents share incubation for 2-8 days at a time for 11 weeks. Then the parents guard the chicks for 30 to 40 days. After that they spend a year at sea before breeding again.