In 1991, the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology initiated a project on the Short-tailed Albatross Diomedea albatrus at a new nesting site on Tori-shima, one of the Izu Islands. The project involved the initiation of a new nesting colony using decoys and vocal lures. A new observation system using video camera that transmits live to our office 600km far from Tori-shima, was established at the site in 1997. The system uses a satellite portable phone developed by NTT DoCoMo Inc. The camera established near the colony can be controlled for zoom and change of view, by a personal computer in the office. Two cameras, each at a different location were used; one beside the nesting spot of the first pair that colonized the site, the other above the decoys where all birds could be observed.
Based on the 394 hours observations through satellite portable phone in three breeding seasons of 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000, one pair of Short-tailed Albatross was found to incubate single egg for 65 days for three breeding seasons. Just after an egg as laid, the male started incubating. The pairs exchanged incubation duties 4 or 5 times, with the longest period between nest exchange being 24 days. In total incubation periods, male stayed on the nest longer than female. These breeding activities resembled other species of albatrosses such as Laysan Albatross D. immutabilis, Black-footed Albatross D. nigripes. This satellite portable phone system is the most useful in the observation of endangered species on isolated islands where it is difficult for researchers to live and where the nesting colony is readily disturbed by humans.