Nash spent the day before my birthday leading local residents on a merry chase through the neighborhood, leaving his safety zone to make his way to a good takeoff spot, then returning to his nest area to sit quietly as though nothing had happened. His next door neighbor, Aggie, participated in the goings-on as well, although she took another route before returning to her home.
On my birthday, Aggie waited until nobody was watching and fledged, but Nash was considerate enough to let his intentions be known. We followed him out to the bluff, staying far enough away from him that he would not be wasting any energy avoiding his human admirers.
Instead of walking over to the perfect fledging spot, he climbed down into grassy bluffs below, too perilously close to cliff edges for the humans who were watching him. Note that an albatross may use those long wings for balance.
He tried a takeoff but was way too low, so he came down on the hill below. Slowly, laboriously, he made his way back up and tried again.
More attempts followed.
Farewell, my friend. May you find an endless supply of squid, fish and flying fish eggs and be as good a parent as your mother and father, “Mr. and Mrs. Fluffy.”
And may Princeville always be home to humans who feel an unbreakable connection to all of our wild relatives. Here’s a toast to all of you who watch out for these birds and clap and cheer for them when they take that first step off the ocean bluff and into the future.