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Wilson's Storm Petrel  Dave Jones

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Midway Atoll NWR

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Old cable company house that may be destroyed.

This is one of the old cable company buildings on the island that may have been demolished by now.  A woman who lived on the island when her father worked for the cable company came back to visit and found a toy she had left in the wall of their home.

Bonine Petrel

Bonin Petrel

Red-billed Tropic Bird

Red-billed Tropicbird

Red-footed Boob

Red-footed Booby

Magnificent Frigatebird

Great Frigatebird

Select  a picture to read more about each bird.

White Tern    

                              White Tern

Migratory Birds

At certain times of the year migratory birds can be found on Midway Atoll.  Since my visit was in April, the migrants were either in breeding plumage or coming into breeding plumage.  A good example is the Pacific Golden Plover pictured at right.

Another migrant birders are anxious to see the is the Bristle-thighed Curlew on its way to Alaska.


Golden Plover

Red-footed Booby

The Red-footed Booby nests on Eastern  Island and we saw them on the once a week trip.

You can also see Masked Booby and Brown Boody on the island. I did not see the Masked Booby as it was nesting on Eastern Island and we were not allowed to walk in that direction. I did see Brown Booby resting on a buoy on the ride over to Eastern Island.

Red-footed Booby Eastern Island Midway Atoll

Great Frigatebird

Great Frigatebird immatures

White-headed immature Great Frigatebirds are seen on both Sand and Eastern Islands.

On Eastern Island adult male Frigatebirds were putting on their display for the females.

Male Great Frigatebirds Midway Atoll

Bonin Petrel

The first night on the island we arrived about 10 PM. While the sport fishing and scuba diving fanatics scurried to find their rooms, the birders stood in awe on the sidewalk outside listening to the whistling and clacking of the Laysan Albatross and watching the Bonin Petrels fly overhead. There are many Bonin Petrels and you will see them every night.. Photographing them is another issue because you will only see them at night and only flying about. The best opportunity to photograph them came on the night of our departure. As we waited at the hangar for the arrival of the weekly Aloha Airlines flight to take us back to Honolulu, Bonin Petrels were flying around the rafters. Unfortunately my lenses were packed away for the flight.

We also saw Wedge-tailed Shearwater one night sitting outside its burrow. More importantly we heard 4 of them moaning one day while we were standing over the ruins of Battery D. It seems there are 4 magazines associated with each underground battery and a shearwater nesting in each. And oh the moan. Unforgettable. I looked hard, but never saw a Wedge-tailed Shearwater flying in the daytime on Midway. I did see them on Maui.

Bonin Petrel

Bonin Petrel

This adult Bonin Petrel was found on the sidewalk outside one of the building at night. Attracted by lights the petrels are stunned when they fly into windows. This one may have recovered. Sorry this picture is out of focus, but I had to use a flash and did not want to try again.

Bonin Petrel Chick

Bonin Petrels nest in burrows all over the island. For the most part you will not see the chicks because they remain out of sight. The first two days we were on the island there was a heavy downpour that flooded many of the burrows. The chick on the right was forced out and we found it huddled outside the burrow. Our leader replaced it in the entrance way hoping to protect it. The flooding was devastating to the Bonin Petrels. Some 600 were found dead, but many more perished in the burrows

Red-billed Tropicbird
Two species of Tropicbirds breed on Midway. The more common is the Red-tailed Tropicbird. The White-tailed Tropicbird breeds on Eastern Island and the weekly refuge tour does not go near the area where they nest so we did not see them on our trip.


Red-billed Tropicbird
Red-billed Tropicbird on nest

Tropicbirds nest on the ground close to the trunk of a tree. This bird's nest was next to dead log and close to the path. Visitors are required to stay on the many roads and paths so as not to collapse the burrows of Bonin's Petrels and Wedgetailed Shearwaters. One bird was nesting under the hedge outside the theatre. Others on the lawn under the trees across from the galley.

Red-billed Tropicbird chick

This Tropicbird chick was walking around under a tree. Parents were not in sight, but the chick appears to be well fed. Rats accidentally introduced have been exterminated on the island. There are no cats or other mammalian predators. This chick is probably safe as long as it stays out of the path of bicycles, golf carts, and of course airplanes.

Most of the Red-tailed Tropicbirds seemed to be on nest during our April visit. In the air over the lagoon, the tropicbirds performed their mating dance. One bird was seen swimming on the lagoon.

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