On the north shore of Kaua’i, the Laysan albatrosses nest on the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, which is federal property. This is a safe, fenced in area with plenty of ocean bluffs with breezes to help the chicks when they fledge, and it will always be left open for them, nobody will ever build on it. The albatrosses, however, also nest on private property, and in Princeville they nest on people’s lawns and on golf courses. Many of the residents and visitors know a lot about albatrosses, but some people do not know what the birds need for safe nesting and visiting. Sometimes I have to put up signs to help everyone to understand.
As an example, there was one female this year who laid her egg next to the cart path on the golf course. In this photo you can see how close she was to the cement path, and she was close to where golfers usually park their carts when they finish at one of the seaside holes.
Golfers could not avoid driving by her nest, but I was hoping to convince them not to stop right next to her. She was a first time parent and her female mate was not around when she laid the egg, so she was already a bit edgy.
Those of you who read my blog last season may remember the chick who illustrated the proper response to this sign, which I put on a private property so nobody would walk into the backyard. Sometimes I think that people forget that these are people’s yards, not a park.
This year, one couple built their nest just past the end of a driveway at a vacation rental house. I was afraid that someone might arrive at night and drive past the concrete and into the nest.
I had to include this photo. My sister took on the job of getting funding to put up signs to warn drivers to slow down in areas where albatrosses may be walking. Last year, a driver who was speeding hit an albatross that was crossing our main road, Ka Haku, and the bird had to be euthanized.
The wildlife biologist at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, Brenda Zaun, encouraged Cindy to apply to the Kilauea Point Natural History Association for funding. This is a good group that has donated money before to projects to help seabirds. They approved the request and that is why we have these signs.
One of my friends used to get a pair of albatross females that often nested under her lanai. She put this sign up for the gardeners.
At the site shown below, we put up enough signs around a nest so the gardeners would know not to get too close. I should say that the gardeners that have worked in Princeville for years understand that they should not mow too close to the birds, so we do not need these signs at every nest site.
I make new signs every season, specialized to handle new situations that require them. I will be sharing more of them in weeks to come.
Cathy, Sending love and Happy Holidays and Gratitude to you for saving these beautiful birds for all of us. We are all blessed to be creatures together on this planet and your devotion helps us understand our oneness with all. prue delamater
Mele Kalikimaka, Cathy – great to read the blog again this year. Keep up the good work.
Of course, in our reasoning, it seems odd that they would choose such spots. This behavior may point to how strong their instinct is: That they’d nest, and moreover remain nested, near a golf cart path because it is in the general area they are drawn to, despite the details of carts going by and people walking around. They obviously are more strongly guided by their collective past, their instinct. As you continually point out, we must not confuse their instinctive behavior for fearlessness.