The end of the fledging season for Galapagos albatrosses is nigh, and with it comes the end of a long, team-based that’s shared between albatross parents. Having hatched as early as August/September, Galapagos albatross chicks have spent approximately 5 months growing and getting to a physical state in their lives that allows them to finally spread their wings for the first time and take flight.
If there was ever a time to glimpse the Galapagos albatrosses with their mature chicks, there’s no better way to do it than aboard Yacht La Pinta!
The entire fledging process begins with the birth of what many wouldn’t hesitate to argue as being an “ugly duckling,” so to speak. However, the entire process of bringing up their young is long and strenuous for both parents that tediously have to care for their young and feed it. The fruits of their labor come to show around this time, as their once-tiny-chicks have now shed their flimsy and patchy down feathers in order to grow their elegant whites and “official” coat of feathers that grants them the ability to soar high over the ocean.
Come this time of year and next year, these young adults will be seen practicing, flapping, and attempting to take off for the first time. After that, it won’t be long before they finally leave the ground for a long, long while.
Some of the largest albatross species can spend up to five years at sea, which is why they are considered to be pelagic. Once the end of the fledging season for Galapagos albatrosses has come, it is beginning of a long goodbye that won’t see these younglings come back until they have become mature enough (somewhere between 1-3 years) to find a mate and procreate, which is when they will come to display their charming display of courtship. This typically won’t happen until March.
Oddly enough, this propensity to “take their time” in finding a mate means that guests might even see albatrosses displaying their courtship as late as December? But are they doing it to have babies! Not at all! It’s much too late for that, and what they’re actually doing is more or less akin to “flirting” with other potential mates to see what “moves” they have. In fact, you can almost be certain that albatrosses that you see courting around this time are less than 3 years old.
FUN FACT: In 2005, it was found that a grey-headed albatross had flown 13,670 miles around the world in the Southern Hemisphere in 46 days.
A species of bird as unique and majestic as his is definitely one of the reasons it’s a part of our BIG15 group of iconic species in Galapagos! So be sure to check it off your list before they fly away for this brief interim!