Apr 4: The mighty albatross

With a wingspan of more than three metres, the albatross is a magnificent seabird. But how big is three metres, really?

Written by      

Barbara Todd

Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story. If young readers find it tricky; just look at the pictures and read the captions to figure it out.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • What do you know about how longline fishing boats work?
  • How do you think governments like the New Zealand government try to keep an eye on fishing boats and make sure they are doing the right thing? What might make this challenging?
  • If you have a look at the graph that shows breeding pairs of albatrosses on Antipodes Island in 2003 and 2017, can you make a prediction about how many would be on a map in 2030?

Watch & learn

In this video by ocean conservation trust Live Ocean, two round the world sailors, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, talk about how it felt to be sailing the rough Southern Ocean and see an albatross. How did this species impact them?

Albatrosses have adapted so well to life far out at sea that they can actually drink sea water. A special gland removes the salt and it dribbles out of the big nostrils at the top of their beak. All their food is at sea so they only come to land once a year—for breeding. What kind of places do you think they might choose for nesting sites? Why?

Task for the day

Albatrosses have a wing span that can measure up to 3.1 metres. Draw some pavement art of an albatross in flight, with some chalk if you have some, or lined with leaves or stones. Try to make it about 3 metres from wing tip to wing tip.  (Take a tape measure outside if you want to be sure, or about the length of two 12-year-olds!) Draw an outline of your own body beside the albatross.

Send us your finished drawings!