Nest update

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.

505 waiting for K065

505 waiting for K065

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.

Me too.

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6 Responses to Nest update

  1. I hope Joseph’s Mary comes soon. If that’s his nesting spot i can see why he likes it; the lush foliage and flowers are so pretty.

  2. Donna Hodge says:

    Hi! I am staying at Shearwater again and have been watching an albatross nesting at the edge of the golf course. Can you tell me a story about this one? There are also two that have been flying back and forth over our unit and the course. Maybe trying to find a good place to settle?

    • tradewindsla says:

      The couple that are nesting closest to Shearwater have nested two years in a row without success. Last year the egg was a fertilized one that for some reason broke before hatching. I hope this year turns out better. The birds flying overhead may have been looking for a mate, or they could be birds without mates looking for other albatrosses to mingle with.

  3. Hi, I found your blog via the Kauai.com blog, fascinating how your community seems to have gelled with these birds! I’ve been doing some research on the effect of plastic discards on sea birds, the Laysan Albatross came up as being particularly hit by the amount of garbage we are throwing into the oceans. Have you seen much evidence of this?

    Keep up the good work

    David

    • tradewindsla says:

      It is very common for chicks to be fed plastic by their parents, and we often see plastic that chicks have regurgitated. In Princeville, whenever a chick dies it is sent to Honolulu for a necropsy. So far, we have not lost any because of plastic ingestion, but I know that chicks on Midway have died from it. Dr. Lindsay Young found that chicks on Kure Atoll were fed ten times the amount of plastic as chicks on Oahu. Her paper can be accessed at pacificrimconservation.org, the website of the non-profit Pacific Rim Conservation,started by Lindsay and her husband, Dr. Eric VanderWerf. Check the first paper under 2009. I was once able to remove about a foot of plastic fishing line coated in fish eggs from the throat of a choking chick. It had been fed to the chick by its parent.

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