On 27 January 2006 in the aftermath of Cyclone Darryl, WA Seabird Rescue in Mandurah received a call to retrieve a large seabird that had washed ashore at Warnbro. That seabird was a juvenile Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans).
The Wandering Albatross (a threatened species) has the largest wingspan of any bird, measuring almost 3.5 metres and a body length of up to 1.35 metres.
As a chick – in December 2005 – this Wandering Albatross had been banded by researchers from the University of Capetown on Marion Island in the Southern Ocean. We found through reporting the band number to the National Banding Centre in Canberra that our albatross had flown more than 6500 kilometres in 28 days!
WA Seabird Rescue took the Wandering Albatross into care, re-hydrating, caring for and feeding it twice daily.
When washed ashore, these large seabirds are usually suffering severe dehydration and shock and they are often underweight.
Many die when in care as they rarely come into contact with humans and they require special handling.
So it was quite a coup for our team members to look after this juvenile for several days and then, with the help volunteers from the Mandurah Water Rescue Group, safely release the Wandering Albatross 30km offshore from Mandurah.