Albatross has returned to Vancouver Island to feed for hundreds of generations: Study

Albatross are habitual creatures, according to a new study found to be endangered by feather hunters after returning to Vancouver Island for generations of feeding for over 4,200 years. was.

Eric Gilly, a lecturer at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, who is the lead author of the study, said this evidence could be the key to helping birds become extinct.

Although the potential range of birds extends to thousands of kilometers of open space along the Pacific coastline and across the ocean, Gillie says animals still preferred certain hunting and feeding grounds. I did.

“This kind of feeding behavior has only recently been discovered in today’s birds,” he said in an interview. “But there is evidence that it has been happening for thousands of years. The same bird goes to the same place for the rest of its life.”

Researchers analyzed these foraging patterns using chemical fingerprints and isotopic compositions stored in albatross bones found in archaeological excavations and museum samples, published this month in the open access journal Communications Biology. According to the research done.

The village of Mowachaht Nuu-chah-nulth on Nootka Island, off the west coast of Vancouver Island, is one of the places where researchers collected ancient bone samples, dating back to 2300 BC. This study compared samples found on Vancouver Island with samples from the United States, Russia, and Japan.

Scientists have been able to combine various points with chemical fingerprints to combine albatross migration and feeding pattern puzzles over 4,250 years, Gilly said.

Researchers have migrated and foraged birds over hundreds of generations by mapping biological markers to known isotope baselines over the species’ foraging range (thousands of kilometers each year). He said he was able to create an image of the behavior. ..

Bird foraging behavior gives researchers insight into their vulnerabilities, he said.

Studies show that albatrosses had almost no feathers in the 1880s and 1930s, and breeding colonies in the North Pacific, from Japan to Russia and Vancouver Island to California, stopped functioning.

The wingspan of albatrosses, known for their pink beaks, can exceed 2 meters. Their white and gray feathers fade yellow on their heads.

When it reaches millions, seabird populations are recovering, but remain below 1 percent of pre-collapse levels. Birds are classified as threatened by Canada’s Commission on Endangered Wildlife Status.

“Understanding the factors that influence where and how albatrosses make choices as the population continues to grow and allocating time to specific foraging areas are key to developing effective conservation approaches. There is a possibility, “the study said.

Gilly said there would be a “just cause” for birds to return to the same place to find food. He said it wasn’t clear what the birds were eating at the time, but they know that squids were included in their diet.

“They are particularly hotspot-rich areas for feeding. This is especially the case when there are upwelling and strong winds, so there is a large amount of nutrient-rich water. , Important for the type of food they are looking for. “

He said this behavior may be revived as the population recovers.

“The fact that this seems to have happened for such a long time makes me wonder if something more fundamental is happening.”

Gilly said that what surprised him most was the unchanging roads and patterns.

“The distance they are only traveling thousands of kilometers to the same kind of area,” he said. “The fact that the species has traveled tremendous distances and it has happened across generations for thousands of years. It’s an amazing degree of consistency.”

Hina Alam

Canadian press