One of the female parents at this nest used to nest with a male in my neighborhood. He did not return in 2007-2008 and she relocated to the golf course, where she met her current mate. Both birds have been DNA tested so their sex is known. Since they had 2 eggs their first year nesting, and since an albatross can only lay one egg at a time, we would know their sex anyway.
During the 5 years they have been together they incubated 4 fertile eggs of their own. One of them obviously has been with a male. This is very unusual for a female/female couple in Princeville, where the albatrosses nest over a wide area and it is less likely for a returning female to be jumped by a male.
In this photo you can see a tired little chick, exhausted after 3 days of pipping. He’s not quite all of the way out of the shell, but I know that when I check today he will be dry and fluffy. He has the benefit of two skilled mothers.
One of his siblings used to sit on the golf cart path and required a small fence to keep him safely in the grass. The one last year developed a taste for fairway living; neither parent nor observer could convince him that this was not a good idea. The golf course warned players to watch out for him.
Who knows what trouble this chick will get into when he’s a bit older? Bring it on, little guy, we will all do our best to keep you safe.
Thanks, as always, for this post. I’m sure you know about the Cornell livecam that is now trained on one of the Kauai albatross nests (the specific location is shown as anonymous, for obvious reasons). Since I participate in some of the Cornell “citizen science” projects, I got an e-mail about the camera this week and have enjoyed peeking in on little Kaloakulua (as they are calling the chick) for the last couple of days. Perhaps you know him, too!