The albatrosses in Princeville are branching out. Yesterday I counted 7 who were hanging out at local condominiums, displaying or just sitting around. Clearly, they are doing this to make my life more difficult. I now have to check their additional habitats and I also have to reassure people that it is normal for the birds to stay here for a few days in a row. The albatrosses often spend the night in Princeville. The couple who nested in my garden spent 10 nights in a row in my neighbors’ yard. Ask my neighbor, she started sleeping on the sofa because the birds were often noisy in the evening, and they chose a spot underneath her bedroom window for their evening displays. This does not mean that the birds never leave. They may leave at night, or early in the morning, or some other time when there is nobody around to see them go and return.
When other albatrosses fly overhead, the ones on land will usually stand and vocalize to get the flyer to join them. Last January I filmed one such display:
We now have 18 chicks. Every egg that Lindsay Young and Eric VanerWerf classified as a viable egg during candling has hatched. To learn about the candling process check out
The parents are starting to leave the chicks alone to spend more time finding food for them. Our oldest chick has been alone at the nest for 3 days.
The parents get their chicks used to being alone by moving away from them inch by inch, then they will often leave them for a few hours. There is a lot of variation in parenting techniques. Yesterday I found a father sitting about 30 feet from his chick. The whole time I was there, the chick’s eyes were glued on Dad.
So as we see more and more of the albatrosses who are looking for nesting partners, we will see less and less of the ones who nested this year. I will have to start putting up my signs that reassure observers that the chicks have not been deserted by their parents. This devotion to their young ones is definitely programmed into the albatrosses, abandonment is simply not a choice for them.
So, folks, please pick up plastic bags and detritus wherever you see it, because it all ends up in the oceans (not that landfills are much better but, hey, as a culture we seem to addicted to plastics so we have to manage them). Help your local polity to ban plastic bags at markets and set up recycling programs. But don’t feel too guilty – the majority of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is of Japanese origin and the amount of plastic washed out to sea by the tsunami beggars imagination. The monofilament that litters the oceans, however, is courtesy of commercial fisherman. More here: http://www.plasticoceans.net/