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Petrel Glossary
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Nest 12
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Nest 12 Female
by Donna Patterson

We first met Nest 12 Female in 1989 as a hatchling on Shortcut Island, about 2 kms. from Humble Island. We didn't see her again until her arrival on Humble Island as a breeder in 1996, when she was 7 years old. Most females don't breed quite so young. The male she settled down with was unbanded, so we don't know his age or background. (We subsequently banded him so that we can continue to track this bird.) This dependable, young couple has bred every year since, with the exception of the 1997 season. However, they have had mixed luck, losing eggs two years and a chick another year. Despite these losses, they have remained together at the same nest site, and have shared the duties in successfully raising 3 healthy, well-mannered chicks.

Read about the bird's journey below.


The Nest 12 Female seems to enjoy a good road trip. Her first trip, just after receiving her transmitter on the 14th was to an area approximately 115 miles from home. She was there for less than a day, and then returned to the nest. She was most likely foraging along the edge of the continental shelf, where a she would find plenty of krill, fish and squid. She may have also preyed on other birds foraging there.

Over the next 5 days she made short forays to similar areas along the Antarctic Peninsula. Her stop on the 18th to the northwest of Anvers Island is a bit of a surprise as giant petrels from the Palmer area typically do not feed to the north during summer. Also noteworthy is that this bird made repeated trips to the same foraging locations over the course of a week. Her two trips to an area approximately 35 miles from home would suggest that she had found a dependable food source.

Her longest trip from the nest was a multi-day excursion that began on the 23rd. Our transmitter shows she began by going to an area at the edge of the continental shelf. Then she flew to the southern end of Charcot Island, an incredible 480 miles from Palmer. There are Ad´┐Żlie penguins nesting on Charcot Island, and the edge of the sea ice nearby. There are also some large sea-ice holes (called polynyas) around Alexander and Charcot Islands that are near Charcot Island are good places for a scavenger to find a meal. She was headed back home by the 27th, but had not yet reached her nest when we visited Humble Island in that afternoon.