Cuteness covered in fluff

Of all of the 58 nests in Princeville, approximately 39% do not have a male.  56 of the nests are two females, and in one case, each of two female partners decided to build her own nest and lay an egg, then incubate her own egg.  One of those females abandoned her nest and is currently sitting on her partner’s egg.

Most of the female/female nests do not result in a chick.  They often each lay an egg, and usually the egg they incubate is not viable, unless one of them has mated with a male and that egg happens to be the one they choose to incubate.  However, we have one fascinating couple, Kp507 and KP468, who have raised 5 chicks starting with the 2006-2007 season.  Each time, KP507 took the first incubation shift.  And now she is sitting on their sixth chick.

The chick was dry, so he’s was not brand new, but his uncoordinated movements resulting in complete exhaustion indicate that he was very young when I filmed him.  Mom just wanted to sit on him, and he was not objecting to that protection.


KP468 left a hard egg, and will now come back to a soft chick.

Not a bad swap.


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12 Responses to Cuteness covered in fluff

  1. so precious; this new chick. thanks for the update! i think it’s cool that albatrosses adapt like this and the females take it on themselves to help each other out with egg sitting and hatching of chicks.

  2. Donna Hodge says:

    Nice! I am so glad I stumbled on your diary. I love your stories and pics/videos!

  3. tradewindsla says:

    This couple has been together since before I started to collect data in 2005. Their son, Larry, is currently nesting two houses away from them. I love walking around and seeing different generations living in the same area. But then it is really hard when someone I have watched through the years does not return. A nester will always return, if it is possible. They invest so much in that relationship, and someone who will share all of the responsibility of raising a chick is worth coming back to.

  4. Fabulous video, Cathy, mahalo! Click won’t stand up long enough yet for me to get such a great view! Hoping for more tomorrow.

  5. Phyllis Easterling says:

    Just wondering if more females are being born than males in general or is it just that more females are discovering Kauai as a perfect nesting place.

    • tradewindsla says:

      I do not think this has been studied enough to say whether more females than males are being born. It requires expensive testing to determine the sex of an albatross, unfortunately. It would be so interesting to find that out, though! I can tell you that one albatross, the Antipodean Albatross of New Zealand, was just “upgraded” to Endangered status because there are 2 males for every female. The two sexes eat in different areas, and the females are eating bait from longline fisheries in countries that do not require boats to work to prevent seabird deaths.

      • Phyllis Easterling says:

        I have been reading about the dangers Albatross encounter when following fishing boats. It is sad that these beautiful birds die just trying to find their next meal. Thank you for all you do to help them once they make it back to dry land.

  6. Mona Gardner says:

    As always, these posts are so greatly appreciated. Thanks! Looking forward to seeing you (and perhaps a lingering youngster who hasn’t yet fledged) in July.

  7. Prudence Delamater says:

    So adorable. Thank you and look forward to seeing you late March.

  8. tradewindsla says:

    Mona and Prue, I always look forward to seeing the people who turned into faithful albatross fans before they knew what hit them! Mona, I have seen your favorite, Liho, twice so far, both times on the ocean side of the golf course. Let’s hope he stays there, we do not need to escort more fledglings across Ka Haku Road!

  9. Alice McDevitt says:

    Great video Cath. Thanks for all you do!

  10. Please tell us some stories, Cathy.

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