KP531 and KP467 have raised chicks that fledged in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Not a bad record. And now KP531 has chosen not to sit on his mate’s egg, which she has been sitting on now for at least a week; instead he is sitting on another female’s egg, the female he spent time with last season when KP467 was gone.
I want to understand what the biological advantage is to this behavior. He knows his former mate will be a good parent, she has never failed. I even looked at my data for the last year they raised a chick and there was nothing unusual in their incubation pattern, they shared duties equally. Yet he is leaving his long-time mate for one who has never nested, at least not in Princeville.
Until I started observing these albatrosses almost every day they were here and going over my data when I saw something that was unusual, I thought they were basically all the same, behaviorally. Boy, was I wrong.
They are much more interesting than that.
In this photo, he is in the foreground. KP467 is the bird facing away from him in the background.