Our first arrivals are here!!
Early Saturday morning there were two, then three, by mid-week seven and as of today 14.
Who are these majestic sea birds? They are the Laysan albatross. The adult male birds almost always arrive first and patiently await the arrival of their female mate.
She may keep him waiting a day, a week, or even two weeks before she arrives. But when she does her mate is ecstatic. On his feet squealing and bobbing up and down in delight at just the sight of her gliding overhead and finally coming in for landing. Before her webbed feet have touched the ground he is waddling at sprinting speed in her direction! This is the first time they've seen each other in months, since the closure of last nesting season.
A Preview of what's to come this season
November through February
Early November the adult birds return solo to their nesting grounds. They await their mate and reconnect. We've seen eggs as early as Thanksgiving but typically it's the month of December when each mating pair will lay their one egg for the season.
Average incubation period is 60 days so by very late January and through February the chicks will hatch. Absolute cuteness!
January is also when the juvenile birds (3 to 7 year olds) return for "party season". They sing, dance, start to court and observe the raising of the chicks. You can bet Lola will get amazing videos of their dance offs, no other bird species is this groovy!
March through July
These 5 months put Mom and Dad to the test. 3000 mile round trip flights for fresh North Pacific squid. All this work just to feed their growing chick.
March kicks off our annual Name That Chick Contest! Keep an eye out for the contest announcement.
By July the chicks are fully grown and fledge to their new home, the vast North Pacific Ocean. The chicks will spend the next 3 to 5 years living life at sea. They will not touch land and live in the open ocean before returning to Kauai one Spring as a young juvenile.
We are so EXCITED to share this albatross season with you!
We have had an exciting few weeks in the colony. Multiple birds have been arriving daily and reuniting with their mates. We are thrilled to report that we already have 25 nests! This means 25 mating pairs (50 birds) have reunited and laid their one egg for the season. We have veteran nesters, first-time nesters and birds that have been widowed who have after many seasons finally found love in a new mate.
Once a pair reunites they preen each other, snuggle and mate before both taking flight out to sea once again where they will feed. The female will return first, build a nest and lay their egg. She will then incubate the egg until her mate returns. His feeding trip is critical, he will need to gorge on enough squid in order to sustain himself for nest duty. Once he returns and takes his place on the nest his mate will depart for sea to feed and replenish her body. Her feeding trip may last for over a month! Her mate will survive by fasting off the squid in his belly and hydrating from passing rain showers. Truly astonishing!
Stay tuned as we have a very special day coming next week- egg adoption day. All the details coming soon!
What are you most excited to see or hear about this nesting season? Let us know in the comments below.