Two Rescued Albatross Released at Sea - NBC Bay Area

Two Rescued Albatross Released at Sea

One bird was found covered in grease and trapped on a cargo ship, officials said.



    Two rare Laysan albatross are free as, well, birds.

    After being rescued separately last month, the pair were released together at sea by the nonprofit International Bird Rescue on Thursday afternoon, officials said.

    IBR team members are seen leaning over a lifeguard boat and letting go of the birds in a photo released by the organization.

    One albatross was found 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean on March 20 in the desert of Rancho Mirage, according to the rescue group. The second bird was found just one day later. It was covered in grease and stuck between two containers aboard a cargo ship, on its way to the Port of Long Beach.

    They were rehabilitated at the IBR's Los Angeles center.

    "This is very rare that we have two albatross in one year and also so close together at the center," center manager Kelly Berry said.

    Laysan albatross are known for being regular guests on container ships, officials said. The birds sometimes see the flat surface and mistakenly believe it's a nesting island during breeding season.

    "The one that we found on the container ship, he happened to be taking a break that day, thinking it was land he could land on and take a break," Berry said. "And he just didn't have either the energy or enough of a distance or wind-power to get back in the air."

    Once they are in the air, Laysan albatross, with their 6 1/2 foot wingspan, can go far — sometimes 300 to 400 miles in one day, officials said. Albatross breed about 3,000 miles from California on islands in the North Pacific Ocean.