Every year one of the first albatrosses to arrive in Princeville is KP424. In the last 7 years, she has spent from 2 to 10 days in my neighbor’s back yard, always in November when the nesters are first returning. I have only seen her displaying with other birds twice in all that time, she usually just stands or sits on her favorite lawn. Then she leaves Princeville and flies to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where she nests with her mate in an area called Mokolea Point.
Time spent by KP424 in Princeville:
2005-2006: 10 days
2006:2007: 6 days
2007-2008: 2 days
2008-2009: 2 days
2009-2010: 3 days
2010-2011: 4 days
2011-2012: 4 days
I recently found out that KP424 used to nest in Princeville. There is a record of this bird nesting here in the 1993-1994 season. Unfortunately, record keeping was very sketchy in the 1990s so we do not know when else she may have nested here. But we do know that in every season since 2005-2006 she spent her first days back on land on my neighbor’s lawn, then flew to the KPNWR to nest with her mate there.
Why? What practical reason is there for this behavior? What draws her back to Princeville every year, taking days away from her nesting schedule?
The more I observe these birds, the more I realize that they are more complicated individuals than they have been given credit for. That makes observing them such a splendidly satisfying way for me to spend my time.