On Saturday we had 8 nests in Princeville.
We now have 32!
I know already that a number of them will not produce a viable chick. I found an abandoned egg in my neighbor’s yard, not far from where I found one last year. We have female/female couples who each produce a nonviable egg. Rarely, one will be jumped by one of the males waiting for his mate to return and she will have a fertilized egg, but Princeville nest areas are so spread out that this is unlikely to happen here.
Some of the nesters are still waiting for their mates to come back. I live across the street from one, KP505, or Joseph. I first saw him on November 20th waiting at his favorite spot for his mate to return. They have raised two chicks together.
Most nesters remain in the same general area from year to year, but often they move around a bit within it. In the case of my neighborhood, that may mean they choose different yards. Not Joseph. He remains faithful to my neighbors’ yard. And not just anywhere in that yard. He is steadfast in his choice of the side yard near a line of trees between “his” house and the neighbor’s.
Many mornings I have seen him patrolling this little area, waiting for his mate. Being a male albatross, he is happy to take advantage of a passing female, but he will be nesting with Mary. I have never seen a couple nest together without getting to know each other the preceding season.
Sometimes a nester returns later, after the period when couples reunite and begin the whole process of raising a chick. It may be a way of avoiding the physical strain that raising a chick can cause to an albatross. I have a couple that raised 6 chicks in a row, but that is not the norm. They need time to recuperate, and that varies with each couple.
Joseph has left the area. I know that the homeowners he shares his property with will be looking out for him and for Mary.