Now is the time when we are starting to see the albatross chicks try out those beautiful, big wings, particularly when there are strong winds. I have seen Kirwan practicing a few times, and I do not always carry my camera with me so I do not have an extensive film library of his attempts. But here is a little film I made combining a couple of days of his efforts.
An adult albatross can take off by running and flapping his wings vigorously. A chick flies low, they cannot gain the height needed for sustained flight over land. It will take more experience to strengthen the wings enough for adult flight. That is why they must be near an ocean bluff or on a beach to take off safely. They must fly into the wind, and they will be safe if that wind is blowing off of the ocean. Once over the ocean, they can utilize air currents that will help them remain in the air.
When someone told me that she thought an albatross chick could take off by flying down a hill, I thought of the poor chick who tried that in a greenbelt in Princeville, hit a tree, and broke his wing. These are not experienced flyers, they need all the help they can get. If the hill is overlooking the ocean, great. If there are any obstacles between the chick and the ocean, not so great. And if the breeze is blowing from somewhere that is not safe for an albatross chick, that is potentially the end of a short life.