Today I had the privilege of watching two albatross chicks fledge. My neighbor, Bob Waid, called me early in the morning to say that the two were behind a house on an ocean bluff at the end of my street. When the chicks leave their comfort zone, the area where they have spent their lives from hatchling to almost-adult, it is a signal that it is time for them to leave. Those of us who keep an eye on them want to make sure they have an easy departure. One year a chick took off from this area and came down too soon, ending up on top of a cliff and requiring a rescue.
Albatross chicks are not very social. This film shows the two of them wandering around the bluff, barely acknowledging each other. One of them had just a little bit of chick fuzz left and looked like an adult; in the film this one made a short flight and ended up on a lower slope. Eventually the bird fledged, but I did not include that part of the film because it was poorly lit and hard to see.
Fortunately, the next bird fledged in a very photogenic manner. Here is a film of Nola’s first big flight: