Observation 1: Identifying a parent
When I saw this adult albatross I knew I was seeing a parent. Check out the head feathers:
At this time of year, you can pick out the parents by this pattern of head molt. Albatrosses have to take time off from chick rearing for molting, they certainly cannot lose flight feathers when they have to spend so much time finding food for their chicks. But they can afford to lose the head feathers.
I never see non-nesters with head feathers that look like this. Why?
Observation 2: Albatross adults hanging out with the chicks
I rarely see parents this time of year, they spend so little time on land. But I do see adult albatrosses spending time with the chicks. This couple may nest here next season. One is a 6-year old named Kaulele, who fledged from a nest located not too far away from where the chick in this photo is sitting. Kalulele has been spending quality time with the other adult, who was banded on Oahu. Whenever I see them together they are somewhere near this chick, who does not seem to mind their company.
Another chick is frequently accompanied by a bird that was banded at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, P293. I often find them sitting near each other, sometimes so close that they are touching.
Observation 3: My problem child
He had a wonderful home away from golf balls, in the middle of the golf course. Then he decided that my life was way too easy, so he settled in on the fairway. He will not be moved. I am hoping that he is the first chick to fledge, the sooner the better.
I will bid him a fond adieu, and hope that he does not decide to nest on his favorite fairway when he returns.