This is a little film of an interaction between 3 albatrosses who all fledged from nests in Princeville. Unfortunately, I do not know the sexes of these birds. I wish English had a pronoun that could be used for a male or a female, as some other languages do. I will not call them “it” so I am going with the pronoun that goes with the names homeowners gave them. Woodstock could be male or female, so I am picking female. I don’t think that the world will come to an end if I do that. If it does, sue me.
Blu234 is a 6 year old who was named Jason as a chick. He first returned to Princeville in 2010, and came back in 2011 as well as this year. His mother disappeared. When nesters disappear, I always assume that they died, they are so duty-bound to return to meet their mates and have more chicks. At any rate, I never see them again. His father found a new mate and has been raising chicks with her; they have a chick this season.
Blu236 is also 6, and is named Woodstock. She came back for the first time last year. Her parents are still together and they have a chick this year. My sister named the father “Mr. Clacky Pants” because he is the noisiest, clackiest albatross in my neighborhood. On at least two occasions he was seen jumping females other than his mate, so we think he is probably well represented in our local gene pool.
Dora is 7 years old and I saw her for the first time this year. Her mother disappeared, and I presume she died; her father has nested with 2 other females since then.
The first year a chick comes back, he may come here for just a day or two. That means that even observing them daily and keeping excellent records, I will probably miss many of those first reappearances. In Princeville, they almost always show up first on the golf course, no matter where their nests were. I think a huge expanse of open grass is a much less intimidating place for that first touch down than someone’s yard is.
I hope to video a first return, but I have not seen one this year. It takes a while for an albatross to get his “land legs,” and they stumble and fall, rest a bit, then resume their clumsy attempts at walking. We once had a bird in Princeville who had suffered some terrible leg injury in the past and walked with a permanent limp. He could not participate in courtship displays because he could hardly stand up, let alone dance. He happened to be there when an albatross returned for the first time. When he saw the bird stumbling around, he limped over there and tried to initiate a display. Unfortunately for him, the bird appeared to be horrified by his clumsy movements. It was not meant to be, and he eventually gave up.
Both Jason and Woodstock have participated in displays with other albatrosses, and I have see the two of them displaying together and in quiet contact. I saw Dora for the first time on April 10th. Mostly she has just been hanging out in my neighborhood. She is so anxious to participate in the display in this film, and clearly has no idea what to do.
Please excuse the quality of this video. For some unknown reason it gets a bit blurry in places, but I hope to remedy that with a new camcorder. In spite of the poor quality, I think the content justifies having to look at some shimmering and waviness.
At first Woodstock and Jason humor Dora a bit when she tries to join in, but their patience finally wears thin, and…well, you’ll just have to watch.