Among the chicks who fledged in 2008 was one named Valentine. She was the third chick her parents had raised; they went on to raise numbers four, five and six, setting some kind of a record for most chicks raised without a year off in between. They have always nested in the front yard of my neighbors. I am happy to see them there because I know that they are appreciated and their chick will be safe.
This year her parents did not nest. However, they have been together many days here, more than 30. The most successful nesters seem to be the ones who spend quality time with each other in years when they are not nesting. On this day in January, I found them in the yard next door to their usual nesting place. Sitting in the yard across the street from them was Valentine, just watching them. At one point, her mother walked half-way across the street towards her, looked at her, then walked back.
What were they thinking? How can we possibly know? I say we just enjoy observing these birds and leave the motives up to them.
Happy Valentine’s Day to Valentine, to her parents, to all of the other albatrosses in Princeville and to all of the human beings who love them.