Nest observations

Sometimes the nest that your mate built needs a bit of work.  A leaf here, a bit of twig there….

KP643 adds her touch

KP643 adds her touch

Sometimes you choose a spot guaranteed to get lots of foot traffic, either near someone’s front door

497, oblivious

497, oblivious

or by someone else’s back door.

Blu234 awaits her mate

Blu234 awaits her mate

Here is a closeup of this nest.  This bird pulled some of the greenery next to her to use, as they often do.

Blu234 on leafy nest

Some use grass to build their nests.

KP515 on grassy nest

KP515 on grassy nest

WhA093 on nest KP300 built

WhA093 on nest KP300 built

Here is a more elaborate grass nest, built by the Tuna Birds.  This name was given to these girls by Brenda Zaun, former wildlife biologist at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, because someone had left a can of tuna by their nest.  Now I have Pastry Birds, Fritos Birds, Ham and Cheese Birds, Fried Rice Birds, Stinky Fish Birds and Hamburger Bun Birds.

Tuna Bird on her well-built nest

Tuna Bird on her well-built nest

People think they are helping by leaving food for the birds, but they are not.  It may attract predators to the nest and the birds may get sick from the food.  When an albatross is at a rehab facility, like SOS (Save Our Shearwaters) at the Kauai Humane Society, great care is taken to prepare the food in as germ-free an environment as possible.  Food must be carefully weighed and amounts recorded, with prescribed supplements provided.  This is a job for experts.

But none of the albatrosses you will see now in Princeville need rehabbing.  The couples take turns sitting on the nest and flying out to sea to eat.  If a parent fails to return during incubation, the other one will not waste away trying to save the egg, the instinct to survive will supersede maternal or paternal care.  The life of a successful nester is higher on the scale of what is important to ensure the future of the species than the possible success of an unproven embryo.  It is a simple fact of albatross life, one which an albatross does not waste time contemplating.  Leave that to the human beings.

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