I have been following the ongoing saga of KP467, the bird whose mate of many years, KP531, left her for a bird he met last season. On December 22nd, KP467 abandoned her egg after incubating it for one month. On the afternoon of December 25th, she returned to her nest and resumed incubation. But when I checked her nest yesterday, December 26th, she had abandoned it again.
She was standing in the driveway next to the nest, and she eventually walked out on the nearby bluff and took off.
After she left I went over to the nest and touched her egg. It was icy cold. The egg had spent 3 unprotected nights in rainy and cold weather, so I was not surprised. She was not being a bad parent by leaving the nest, she had spent a month without food after laying her egg. On an airplane the flight attendants always tell parents that in an emergency they should fasten their own oxygen masks before helping their children. An albatross who is weak with hunger will not be able to care for a chick.
Now KP467 will have to put her history with KP531 aside and start to look for another mate. She may not know this for a while; it takes some birds a long time to get used to it. Some Princeville albatrosses who have lost a mate stay in the same area where they are used to nesting, some move on to another location. Wherever she is I will continue to observe her as she makes her way in the albatross world.