As of November 16th, I have seen 22 albatrosses in Princeville. There are 4 couples, 11 birds who nested before and are waiting for their mates to return, one unbanded bird, one bird who does not have a mate, and KP618, whose mate disappeared during incubation last year.
On November 15th one of the females who nested in my garden last year returned. She has been waiting in my yard since then. When this couple has a failed nest, they usually pick the place where they will be nesting the following season and meet there day after day. Last season they chose my neighbor’s yard, and I expect to see them there when the second one returns.
KP531 is the male who left his mate for another a couple of years ago. The rejected female has already left Princeville with a new mate, and I expect them to have the first nest here when they return.
One bird, KP505, is a grandfather. He and two of his children nested here last season and all three chicks fledged. He was originally banded in as an adult in 1989 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. We assume that adults are at least three when banded, so he is at least 27 years old.
Another bird who returned to my neighborhood is KP639. He was banded in Princeville in 1989, and was nesting then at one of the first nests in Princville. Nesters are at least 5 years old, so he is at least 29. He was reunited with his long-time mate, KP676, who was banded at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge as an adult in 1988. There is a record of her nesting in Princeville in 91-92. She and KP639 have been nesting together since I started observing in 05-06. Last year they didn’t have an egg, but they were both back when the nesters returned in November. I last saw her in February, he returned after that and I saw him last in mid-April. It is interesting that she preferred life on the open seas over living in a yard in Princeville, while her mate spent 22 days here after she had left for the season.
Every day more albatrosses will be arriving. I always look forward to seeing familiar band numbers, and I am always sad when someone does not return.