KP531 makes a big decision

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.

KP531, KP467 at separate nests

In this photo, he is in the foreground.  KP467 is the bird facing away from him in the background.

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3 Responses to KP531 makes a big decision

  1. beckyofkauai says:

    KP531 likes the view from this nest better. 😉

  2. Megan says:

    that is a confusing decision! maybe birds also suffer from the-grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side idea?

  3. tradewindsla says:

    I’m waiting to see what KP531 does if his first mate, KP467, leaves her nest before the new mate comes back. Will he go over there and sit on her egg or stay where he is?

    We’ll see….

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