Every year some of the nesters from the previous year do not return to Princeville. If albatrosses who have never nested do not return, it is possible that they relocated to one of the other colonies on the north shore of Kaua’i to look for a mate there. However, if I do not see one who had a nest mate the previous year, I am less optimistic about what happened to that bird. They are programmed to return to nest again, that instinct is very strong.
Occasionally I will write about one of these albatrosses I remember from past seasons.
KP298 hatched in my neighborhood in 2002, and returned for the first time in 2005. For the first two years, I only saw him in my neighborhood. Then in 2008 he started spending time on the golf course where he would eventually nest.
Blu200 was banded as an adult; I have no idea how old she is. In 2009 blu200 was all over the place, in all of the areas that I check, but started to spend all of her time at the golf course. KP298 started out that season spending time in my neighborhood, but ended up on the golf course near blu200. The last two days I saw them both in March of 2009, they were displaying together and engaging in quiet contact. Undoubtedly they were together more often than that. Even checking every day I miss a lot.
They nested together in 09-10 and 11-12. Last year, strong winds blew over the tree that was next to their nest. The chick was in the right spot and was uninjured.
Blu200 came back this season in November, when the nesters from the previous season met up with their mates. She stayed in the area where she had nested with KP298, but he never returned. In the last week of December she started going to other areas in Princeville; since then I have only seen her on the part of the golf course where her nest was located. I have seen her displaying with other birds there, but not with one in particular. She still has time to find a mate if she is looking for one. I have discovered that some albatrosses take longer than others to give up on the old life and get on with the new one.
And frankly, finding a mate who will faithfully accept weeks of incubation duties, spend many hours at sea searching for food for a chick, and return each season to nest again or just to renew the bond with his mate—-that is a job worth spending some time on.