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Tim Melling – Black-browed Albatross

Tim writes: It was more than thirty years ago when I first saw a Black-browed Albatross; a lost individual that resided in a Gannet breeding colony at Hermaness on Unst on the Shetland Isles. 

This one was photographed off the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic where they breed in good numbers.  Many albatrosses have suffered recently by becoming entangled in the hooks of long line fishing boats.  These hooked lines can be several kilometres long and attracted by the captured fish, entangled albatrosses can be dead or seriously wounded by the time they are reeled into the fishing vessel.  Because albatrosses are so long-lived (over 70 years!) and slow-breeding, the loss of adult birds has led to a serious population decline in many species, including the Black-browed.  Experiments with heavier lures that do not float have had some success. 

Black-browed is one of the smaller albatrosses with a wingspan of just 2 to 2.4 metres.

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