Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/325

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321
THE BIRD ROOKERIES OF LAYSAN.

THE BIRD ROOKERIES ON THE ISLAND OF LAYSAN.[1]
By Professor C. C. NUTTING,

STATE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA.

PERHAPS the most interesting experience enjoyed by the naturalists of the U. S. S. Albatross during her recent Hawaiian cruise was a visit to Laysan, an island situated almost in mid Pacific, about eight hundred miles to the west and a little to the north of Honolulu.

As viewed from the anchorage, a more uninteresting bit of land could hardly be found, there being nothing in view PSM V63 D325 Young albatross.pngFig. 1. Like Great Brown Goslings, balanced on their heels, with their toes in the air. save a stretch of coral sand beach surmounted by low bushes and relieved by a wooden light-house and the sheds of the guano company that leases the island. On the morning of our arrival the surf was the worst seen during the entire cruise. Nowhere did there appear to be a spot where the heavy swell did not break in thundering roars, and the rollers appeared to be at least twenty feet high. One of our party succeeded in making a landing in a small boat manned by Japanese, and thus secured a day with the camera ashore on the far-famed island of Laysan, and the experience was one not soon to be forgotten.

The road to the main albatross rookery is of the same white coral sand that covers almost the whole island. The glare is exceedingly trying to the eyes, and the heat would be oppressive to one who found time to think of it. Birds are everywhere, and so tame that they actually have to be shoved aside with the foot. The road was dotted with the young of the white albatross, with a sprinkling of adults. The youngsters were but three months old, although fully as large


  1. Published with the permission of Hon. George M. Bowers, U. S. Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries.