My two girls, albatrosses who started meeting in my garden last February after their egg failed to hatch , have met for the second time this season in the same area. I presume that they will nest there. They usually have one or two infertile eggs, so they will probably need a PMRF egg to adopt. I hope they get a good one.
Every year the albatrosses return gradually over the season, then when I count them on the Excel chart where I will store all of my data for the season, I suddenly realize that I saw more than I thought. So far, I have seen 53, and I know that I have missed seeing others. These are just the ones contemplating nesting, and there are more of these to come. Later on in the season I will see the ones who do not have mates; some of these will be birds that are new to me. I keep a list of every bird I have ever seen, along with when I saw them, and it expands as time goes by. I always lose some birds, either to death or to relocation.
One bird I have seen several times is KP513. Last year when she was incubating her egg, her mate failed to return. She sat on her egg for 37 days; normally, the male will relieve the female within a week. She must have been exhausted and very hungry when she finally had to abandon the egg. I presume her mate died, because I can’t imagine an experienced nester abandoning an egg.
After the nesters meet up and mate, they leave for a week or so, then the female returns to build a nest and lay the egg. The male usually returns within a few days to take the first and longest incubation shift. Sometimes he even beats the female back to the nesting area. The whole process of developing an egg and then laying it saps the female of her energy, and she must return to sea to eat and build up her strength.
KP513 returned in January and I saw her participate in several displays, but never twice with the same bird. I doubt if she found a mate last season. I wonder if she is somehow thinking that she will see him again, or if her instinct to return now has just kicked in.
Delighted to see your two had returned and were canoodling together when we walked past this afternoon. One of ours is back where he/she was at this time last year…maybe waiting for its mate, d’you think? Do let me know if it’s the same one and if you know whether it’s a he or she! 🙂 …or is this KP513? I don’t want to get close enough to find out, so will leave it to you!
The albatross is KP338, and she is hanging around the area where she nested last year. KP338 was banded in Princeville as a chick in 1998. Every year she nests with another female, KP643. They usually have one or two bad eggs, and they have been given PMRF eggs in the past. Last year, unfortunately, KP643 built a second nest far from KP338’s, and we could not give them a PMRF egg, since they have to raise it together.
Thanks Cathy! Great to have all the details!