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Hybrid Albatross Stands Out on Midway Atoll

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You'll Know It When You See It

I kept my eyes peeled for days. "They're usually lighter than the Black-Footed and darker than the Laysans," photographer Rebecca Jackrel told me. So that's what I looked for every day on Sand Island in the Midway Atoll as I scanned for a hybrid albatross -- an albatross that has one Laysan parent and one Black-Footed parent. "You'll know it when you see it," she said.

On the last day of our trip to Midway, Rebecca stopped our electric golf cart near the runway to change lenses on her camera and I happened to glance out at the group of Laysan and Black-Footed albatross on the grassy patch. Before I even knew it, I blurted, "Hybrid!!" and leaped from the cart with my camera ready to fire.

Here is the gorgeous hybrid we followed as it wandered around trying to engage other birds in a courtship dance.

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