It looks like we are going to have our first great-grandchick this year. He looks young for a great-grandpa, don’t you think?
There was no monitoring of nests in Princeville until 1991. The first record of KP505, Joseph, is from the 1991-1993 season, when he was the parent of a chick. Records show that he had been banded as an adult in March of 1989 at the PMRF (Pacific Missile Range Facility.) I have never seen an adult younger than 3 years old, so if we assume that he was at least three when he was banded, his age is at least 30.
Joseph is the grandfather of a male who is attending an egg at his first nest. Joseph’s daughter is also on a nest, not far from her son. This is part of what makes these birds so interesting. As the years pass we get to see the new generations hatching, fledging, coming back and raising their own chicks. They may not get together at the holidays, but they are living lives in close proximity to each other. Do they remember each other? They have a very good sense of smell. Do close relatives have a similar smell? If a couple raises a chick from the PMRF, does the little one have a different smell?
These are just a few of the questions that keep an observer observing. As time passes, I learn more and more about their relationships. So far, I have never seen relatives forming pairs, even though they live in close proximity to each other. One of my side projects is checking to see whether I have ever recorded relatives other than mates displaying with each other. This is a very imperfect study, since I have been observing them for 12 years and do not know all of their relationships, but it should be very interesting to check on the ones that I know are related.
Writing this in my blog forces me to follow through, that is actually a good reason to write these posts. I’m sorry I have slacked off lately, the holidays were busy for me, and now I have a new dog to get used to. But stay with me and we can learn some new things about these birds together. And there are an amazing number of facts left to discover. Each new piece of information seems to be wrapped around several more. It is a never-ending quest, but every life should have some of those to shake things up and keep the old brain in working condition.