As far as the parents go, well, first, they typically can’t get enough food in a single location,
so they have to visit several places on the same foraging trip.
And the locations of good foraging grounds tend to be very far apart.
And second, they can’t always nest on an island that’s closest to the best feeding ground because some of those islands have too many predators on them.
Predators that would just love some little chicks to snack on, so I don’t think they have much choice.
But it still works out because albatross fly using a technique called dynamic soaring,
which enables them to cover very long distances while expending very little energy.
If it weren’t for that, you’d be right, they would probably burn up all their energy just flying back and forth.
Another factor is albatross lay only one egg at a time,
so when the parent returns with the food that one chick doesn’t have to share it with a lot of other chicks. Yes, Nancy?
So you’re saying that they might easily fly a thousand miles over the open ocean when they’re looking for food?
Then how do they know how to get to the food? I mean, which direction to take to get to the food and how do they find their way back home?
Good point. And the truth is we are not sure, it’s very difficult to keep seabirds in captivity where you can study them.
And it’s very difficult to study them in the wild, you know, but we think that a lot of what we’ve learned about songbirds probably applies to seabirds as well.