POSTED: 8:07 p.m. HST, Jun 20, 2011
The first short-tailed albatross chick ever to hatch outside Japan in recorded history has fledged and left its home at Midway's national wildlife refuge.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday the seabird was last seen at Midway Atoll last Wednesday. Biologists believe the bird is most likely headed toward the rich and productive waters near the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Officials put an identification band on the albatross earlier this month in anticipation it would soon leave the island. The band will help biologists track the seabird and learn where it eventually nests. The bird hatched at Midway, a remote atoll about 1,300 miles northwest of Honolulu, in January.
Feather hunting pushed the species to near-extinction by the early 20th century.