National wildlife refuge biologists at Midway Atoll have put an identification band on the first short-tailed albatross chick ever to hatch outside Japan in recorded history.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said today a permanent metal band has been placed on the right leg of the five-month old chick. The band will help biologists track the seabird and learn where it eventually nests.
The bird hatched at Midway in January. It has survived several storms and the March 11 tsunami.
Until now, the short-tailed albatross has only been known to have reproduced at two sites: Torishima island in Japan and islands controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Feather hunting pushed the species to near-extinction by the early 20th century.