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Midway Island's Giant Gooney Bird

For those that like the Giant Gooney Bird.

I have been told that the old Gooney Bird has been eaten alive by termites and has been removed to Hawaii in hopes of restoring it. I was also told the it my be beyond repair and the possibility of creating a mold to cast a new one out of a resin the resembles woods is being pursued.

As always this requires funds that it appears the FWS are not willing to supply. I was told that the Friends of Midway have taken on this project.

It would be good to have this information verified, but that's the info that I have received.

Until then, here's its history.

If you have never seen a one ton albatross, you've obviously never been to Midway Island. There, you can find one, claimed by many Navymen to be the "biggest damn gooney bird" in the world, standing 11 feet tall with neck outstretched, head tilted back and beak pointed skyward.


In truth, the gooney is a wood sculpture of a Laysan Albatross carved from a 30-foot mahogany log by a Navy dentist, Lieutenant Commander Robert C. Cook.

Why an 11-foot gooney bird?

It seemed a good subject for his log, explained the doctor, especially in view of how people on the island become so infatuated with the bird, almost to a point that their lives evolve around it as they observe this mixture of graceful flights and antics on landing during eight to nine months of the year when he gooney inhabits Midway.

That, plus the fact that the senior dental officer mentioned nothing about having a fireplace in his quarters.

The finished product stands as a central attraction of a new historical center. It was erected recently to commemorate the Battle of Midway fought in June 1942; the project began in the doctor’s backyard and was carved from a single 30-foot log.

The log was cut in half-sections, one section becoming the body, the other the head and neck. After being shaped, the two sections were attached with two steel pins, four feet long. Then, upon painting, the carving took on the luster of life, so real, in fact, that many gooneys appear quite content in the shade of the newly acquired "big brother" who relentlessly stands in his "sky moo" position, looking very proud and very gooney.

JO3 James Alan Bromley, USN


Photo caption:|

Above: Dr Cook with rough carving of the bird head and neck assembly. Right: The live gooney birds are dwarfed by the completed wooden imitation now a familiar landmark on Midway Island.

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Carlos A.P.
- 2012-04-03 at 04:50

Mydway, Beautifull and little atoll, the pacific is very large and to be imposing
Paul Clasen
- 2012-04-20 at 19:01

Midway res. Jun'73 to Dec '74.-
Fondest memories of Koral Kings. Hundreds of dives, more snorkling. Buddies Dan Dolaptchieff, Jeff Stephens, Kathy Sperry, Bruce Mar, many others. Swam and filmed with manta rays. Dove on the corsair Fighter in 90 ft outside southern reef, off the south end of the short runway. Still have netted fishballs. Going back june 4th 2012 for 70th anniv. of the Battle.
Michael B. Wilson
- 2012-12-10 at 07:24

I was there while Dr. Cook worked on this project and got to see it completed. He spent a lot of hours on it.
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- 2013-10-08 at 11:49

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing ability has inspired me.
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- 2013-10-19 at 13:30

Termite problem is the problem that is rising day by day. I would like to mention that this giant gooney bird information is appropriate for me.
Arizona Termite Control
- 2013-12-05 at 11:46

Bird eaten alive by the termites, what can be worse situation than this? I think if termites can be so harmful then we all should get them away from out place.
Mic Rij
- 2014-02-24 at 08:15

I have many pictures of the giant gooney being made. From mahogany logs, to complete sculpture. If you are interested, I can be contacted at, rij3@bellsouth.net.
- 2015-10-17 at 09:53

Really Nice Blog.
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astrologer shandeleyji
- 2016-10-03 at 22:08


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