The numbers continue to climb

So far in Princeville I have seen 91 albatrosses and 15 nests.  I know that I have not seen all of the birds who have returned.  Even checking every day, I am going to miss some.  The long time mates will often return, mate, and leave so quickly that I might not see either one of them until they come back about a week later to nest.

We have nests in a variety of locations:  at the end of a driveway, in bushes, in back yards, next to a front door, in gardens, on or near golf courses, and two in the paths of big storm drains.  There will be more to come.  We usually start out with twice as many nests as we end up with.  Some may be abandoned, especially by first-time parents or by females with no mates, some will have bad eggs, the two eggs near the storm drains could be swept out of the nests.  Albatrosses show extremely high nest site fidelity, they will not follow the egg or chick if it is out pushed out of the nest.  I have been called to nests to put eggs back that were unintentionally kicked out by a parent cleaning up the area.  They will continue to sit in the nest, squirming around and looking uncomfortable; they will not leave to sit on or to try to retrieve the lost egg.

People ask me if I ever try to discourage birds from nesting in a particular spot.  I am pretty dedicated, but not so much that I would camp out to make sure they didn’t sneak back to their favorite site when there were no interfering humans around.  I did try to walk a bird off a golf course fairway to a safer nesting area with lots of nice, long, grass to use for nest building, but she was just waiting for me to leave so she could run back.  There is no reasoning with these birds.

One of my new nesters this year is the bird who was banded as a chick in June of 2002 on Tern Island in French Frigate Shoals in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.  Tern Island is a flat runway with little vegetation.  Look at where this bird is now, in the middle of a golf course:

From Tern Island to the golf course

From Tern Island to the golf course

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5 Responses to The numbers continue to climb

  1. beckyofkauai says:

    At least it is in the rough and somewhat protected from errant shots by a tree.

  2. tradewindsla says:

    There have been nests in this area before, and none of the birds were ever hit by a golf ball. There are more trees around the bird than I could show in the photo. I do worry about the chick wandering around, though….

  3. barbmayer says:

    Glad to know you’re keeping an eye on “our” Tern-Island-born albie!

  4. Donna says:

    My husband and I are staying in a timeshare unit overlooking a golf course. We have been watching an albatross patiently sitting on a nest. This evening we were treated to a reunion dance and watched the first one fly out to sea. Two other nesting albatrosses we had not noticed got up to join the festivities. I am so glad I found your diary today. It helped to know what we were seeing. Thanks, Donna

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